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EHR Adoption Slow, Information Exchange Lagging

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 8, 2014

While many providers have the essential EHR components required to obtain federal financial incentives and avoid penalties, about 90% of hospitals still can't allow patients to view online, download, or transmit health information.

Thousands of hospitals and physicians in small office practices will be left out of meaningful use incentive payments, and may eventually be financially penalized, unless they speed up adoption of electronic health records systems to satisfy meaningful use 2 requirements, analysis indicates.

The findings of two papers published Thursday in Health Affairs arebased on survey data showing how many providers have the essential system components required to obtain financial incentives and avoid penalties under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009.

The first report of hospital EHR prevalence from 2008 to 2013 as reported by the American Hospital Association Annual

Survey—IT Supplement, found that while adoption has risen steeply to 59%, small and rural hospitals "lag behind their better resourced counterparts."

And while most hospitals are able to meet some of the 15 stage 2 meaningful use requirements, nearly 60% can't use EHR to provide summary of care records for transitions, and about 90% can't allow patients to view their health record online, download, and transmit health information.

Only 5.8% of the 2,600 hospitals surveyed are able to meet all stage 2 meaningful use objectives, which is required to receive a share of $30 million in incentive payments.

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