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Report: EHR Adoption in Hospitals Has Spiked Since 2010

July 8, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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Basic EHR adoption has nearly tripled in hospitals since 2010

Thanks to the federal investments into health information technology, adoption of basic electronic health record (EHR) systems has nearly tripled since 2010, a new report from the Princeton, N.J.-based non-profit, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found.

The report, “Health Information Technology in The United States: Driving Toward Delivery System Change, 2013,” looked at adoption of EHRs in the U.S. from the standpoints of the physicians and hospitals. For hospitals, adoption was at 44 percent, up 17 percent from 2011 and nearly triple from what it was in 2010. For physicians, 38.2 percent have adopted basic EHR functionalities as of 2012.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, along with the Mathematica Policy Research and the Harvard School of Public Health, used data from multiple sources in this report, including the 2012 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the National Survey of Practice Physicians, and the 2012 American Hospital Association Health Information Technology Supplement.

“Hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers are clearly taking advantage of recent incentives to embrace the promise of technology,” John R. Lumpkin, M.D., MPH, senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a statement. “It’s particularly encouraging to see that more doctors and hospitals are using electronic health records, which contribute to better care at the bedside. But there is still a significant amount of work to be done to ensure that our health care system is as up-to-date as it can be. These kinds of technologies can lead to safer, higher-quality care.”

The authors of the report found 42 percent of hospitals reported the implementation of all functionalities required to meet the standards of Stage 1 of the federal “meaningful use” program. This is up significantly from 18.4 percent in 2011 and 4.4 percent in 2010.

Large, major teaching, private nonprofit hospitals located in urban areas, were more likely to have a basic EHR, according to the report’s authors. This also applied for those who met Stage 1 of meaningful use. Rural hospitals, however, were closing the gap, the report found. The proportion of rural hospitals with at least a basic EHR increased by a relative change of 257 percent from 2010 to 2012.

Only five percent of hospitals could meet all 16 core objectives for Stage 2 meaningful use. However, 63 percent reported meeting 11–15 of the functionalities, which implies that they’re close to meeting all of the objectives.

Also up was the amount of hospitals now participating in health information exchange (HIE) initiatives, from 14 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2012.  Ten percent of ambulatory practices were engaged in one of the nation’s 119 HIEs, up from 3 percent in 2010.

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