Who Intends to Pursue EHR Incentives?

Today, at an event in Washington, DC, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) highlighted the rate of EHR adoption in both ambulatory offices and hospitals.

Dr. Blumenthal posted a new video to the ONC website today during which he states that the “tide is turning” and that healthcare providers are planning to “take the plunge.” He expresses optimism and suggests that several factors have aligned to foster this growing momentum for EHR adoption:

  • HITECH Act financial incentives.
  • Technical assistance through Regional Extension Centers.
  • Meaningful use metrics to provide guidance on EHR implementation/use.
  • The EHR certification process to help ensure that products have the features & functions needed.
  • Leadership by health professional organizations are helping to move the healthcare system forward.

Important Facts About EHR adoption and the EHR Incentive Program

Recent Survey Findings Nationwide (A copy of the survey used can be found here.)

  • According to the most recent results from the National Center for Health Statistics Survey of IT adoption in physician practices, 24.9 percent of office-based physicians have adopted at least a “basic” electronic health record. This represents growth of nearly 50% since 2008.
  • Growth in electronic health record adoption was strongest among primary care physicians last year, 29.6 percent of whom have now adopted at least a basic EHR.
  • In addition, 41.1 percent of office-based physicians plan to apply for EHR incentive payments. Of those physicians, 79.1 percent plan to apply in 2011 or 2012.1

Acute Care Hospitals

  • According to the most recent results of the American Hospital Association’s Survey of IT adoption, 15.1 percent of acute care non-federal hospitals have adopted at least a “basic” EHR. This represents growth of nearly 75% since 2008.
  • In addition, 80.8 percent of acute care non-federal hospitals plan to apply for EHR incentive payments. Of those hospitals, 80.1 percent plan to apply in 2011 or 2012.1

1 Hospital Source: American Hospital Association Information Technology Survey, 2008-2010. Physician Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Ambulatory Medical Center Survey, 2008-2010.

2 “Basic” electronic health records are defined as electronic capability for managing:  Physicians: Patient demographic information, patient problem lists, patient medication lists, clinical notes, orders for prescriptions, and viewing laboratory and imaging results; Hospitals: Patient demographic information, physicians’ notes, nursing assessments, patient problem lists, patient medication lists, discharge summaries, lab and radiologic reports, diagnostic test results, and orders for medications. They are defined in the following sources: Physicians: Hsiao CJ, et al. Electronic Medical Record/Electronic Health Record Systems of Office-based Physicians: United States, 2009 and Preliminary 2010 State Estimates Health E Stats. National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control. Hospitals: Jha AK, et al. Use of Electronic Health Records in U.S. Hospitals. N Engl J Med. 2009 360;16

This post is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American College of Physicians (ACP). ACP does not endorse a specific EHR brand or product and ACP makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein.

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