An independent review appears to back up Mostashari's claims that rural America is making progress on the electronic medical records front. A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, co-authored by Mathematica Policy Research and the Harvard School of Public Health, finds that the proportion of rural hospitals with at least a basic EHR increased from 9.8% to 33.5% from 2010-12. During the same time urban hospitals saw EHR adoption rates rise from 17% to 47.7%.
"The inpatient divide between rural and smaller hospitals compared to better resourced urban hospitals, particularly teaching hospitals, remains, but it is closing," says study co-author Michael Painter, MD, senior program officer at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
"The other thing we are finding is that the rate of adoption seems to be accelerating among the small and rural hospitals compared with the larger better resourced urban hospitals. That makes sense because the better-resourced urbans accelerated early on and now that is leveling off. The more-challenged small and rural hospitals are accelerating. Where this all plays out is hard to see. We will keep monitoring it in the coming years."
Painter says the percentages of hospitals that have achieved meaningful use actually could be significantly higher than what his report found because it uses data from 2012.