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Senators: Rural Hospitals Hobbled by Digital Divide

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 17, 2013

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.  

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4 comments on "Senators: Rural Hospitals Hobbled by Digital Divide"


David Hold (7/19/2013 at 2:31 PM)
Senators are right on target I presume that the EMR vendors are very happy to listen to the good doctors comments. We are focusing on EMR which is important but not as important as preventive care. Most of these rural hospitals are barley breaking even or losing money to provide needed care and what we do add to their burden

KG (7/18/2013 at 11:15 AM)
I think there is increasing lack of civility and focus on issues/solutions in the senate hearings. What does Dr. Mostashari's bow tie have to do with a discussion on problems faced by rural providers? I would have much preferred the senators to focus on specifics and details of the problems faced by rural providers to back up their claims and discuss possible solutions.

Larry Rine (7/18/2013 at 10:23 AM)
I only have antidotal data, but from calling on these hospitals an EHR vendor for several years, there are very few rural hospitals in Kansas, Montana and other states that haven't made an EHR [INVALID]ion. It is important to note that the process from installation to attestation takes almost a year. Stage Two requirements are not that much more challenging than Stage One. The personal criticism of Dr. Mostashari, was classless.