Research: Hospital EHR Adoption Increases, but Challenges Continue | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Research: Hospital EHR Adoption Increases, but Challenges Continue

November 12, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

While electronic health record (EHR) adoption has increased steadily in U.S. hospitals since 2010, challenges—such as getting small and rural hospitals to adopt the technology—do remain, according to new research published in Health Affairs.

The research team, led by Julia Adler-Milstein, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan, looked at 2008–14 national data, which includes the most recently available, to examine hospital EHR trends. They found large gains in adoption, with 75 percent of U.S. hospitals now having adopted at least a basic EHR system—up from 59 percent in 2013.

However, small and rural hospitals continue to lag behind, the researchers found. Since 2008 there has been more than a 10-percentage-point gap between small and large hospitals in adoption of at least a basic EHR system, according to the research.

Among hospitals without a basic EHR system, the function most often not yet adopted (in 61 percent of hospitals) was physician notes. The researchers also saw large increases in the ability to meet core Stage 2 meaningful use criteria (40.5 percent of hospitals, up from 5.8 percent in 2013); much of this progress resulted from increased ability to meet criteria related to exchange of health information with patients and with other physicians during care transitions, they concluded.

According to the researchers, “While achieving EHR adoption among a majority of hospitals is an important milestone, it is critically important to reach close to nationwide adoption of these systems to gain the network benefits of EHR adoption. However, with the ‘early majority’ having adopted, the remaining hospitals may be those with the biggest challenges and, therefore, least likely to join in. This potential leveling off of adoption, if real, would hinder the goals of a true nationwide health information infrastructure.”

That being said, the findings do suggest that close to 100 percent hospital adoption of basic EHRs is possible in the near future, particularly if hospitals receive help with the transition to physician notes. However, given that physician resistance continues to be cited as a challenge, it will be important to identify ways to ease the conversion to electronic documentation in parallel with other changes required to meet Stage 2 meaningful use criteria, the researchers noted.

What’s more, hospitals have invested a lot of time and energy in the criteria that require health information exchange (HIE): the summary care record for each transition objective (provider-to-provider exchange) as well as the patient’s ability to view, download, and transmit objective (provider-to-patient exchange). However, this is counterbalanced by the finding that the majority of hospitals might not be ready to meet the Stage 2 core objectives when required to do so.

The researchers also said that responding to calls for a Stage 3 delay and continuing to work toward streamlined regulations could free up resources to focus on complementary priorities, such as making the transition from volume- to value-based payment.

The study data came from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey–IT Supplement for information technology adoption for 2008–14, which is sent to the CEO of every U.S. hospital. “Our findings suggest that close to 100 percent hospital adoption of basic EHRs is possible in the near future,” authors concluded. “However, our data reveal specific areas in which hospitals are struggling. Policy strategies that target these issues, which will especially benefit small and rural hospitals, could bring about nationwide hospital EHR adoption.”

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Program Presents Fourth Class of Startups

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, a program that helps entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market, has brought in nine more health tech startups as part of its fourth class.

DirectTrust Adds Five Board Members

DirectTrust, a nonprofit organization that support health information exchange, announced the appointment of five new executives to its board of directors.

Analysis: Many States Continue to Have Restrictive Telemedicine Policies

State Medicaid programs are evolving to accelerate the adoption of telemedicine models, this evolution is occurring more quickly in some states than others, according to a recent analysis by Manatt Health.