According to a new study by the Boston-based New England Journal of Medicine, a small fraction of U.S. hospitals have full health information technology (HIT) systems in place to improve the delivery of care.
A survey of nearly 3,000 hospitals shows that less than 2 percent use comprehensive EHR systems, and about 8 percent use a basic EHR in at least one care unit that includes physician or nurse notes. The findings are the first reliable estimates of the prevalence of HIT adoption in U.S. hospitals, and come amid concerted efforts by Congress and the Obama Administration to stimulate wider use of EHRs in the healthcare sector.
The study also shows that larger, urban teaching institutions are somewhat more likely to have EHRs than other hospitals, partly because they may have more financial resources at their disposal. Inadequate capital and high maintenance costs were the major barriers cited among non-adopters.
Other highlights of what the study found:
Computerized physician orders for medications were widely available in 16 percent of U.S. hospitals;
More than three-quarters of hospitals reported adoption of electronic laboratory and radiology results reporting systems.
The largest barrier to HIT adoption among hospitals still remains the cost, says the study, followed by interoperability.