AJMC RELEASE: More than 75% of Hospitals Utilize EHR Incentive Programs

July 15, 2013
More than 75% of Hospitals Utilize EHR Incentive Programs
PLAINSBORO, NJ – Health Information Technology (HIT) remains an increasingly integral part of healthcare reform. Now, a recent study shows that more 75% of hospitals are participating in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, and more than half of those have achieved Stage 1 “meaningful use” of that technology. The study findings are published in the July issue of The American Journal of Managed Care.

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive program was established as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic Health (HITECH) Act, in an effort to encourage hospital adoption, implementation, and upgrading of certified EHR technology. Providers in this incentive program must also demonstrate meaningful use of this technology by meeting determined core measurements such as: e-prescribing, demographics, and vital sign records. Stage 1 meaningful use requires hospitals to complete at least 14 core objectives and 15 clinical quality measures within the first year of implementation.

The study also found that while smaller hospitals like safety-net hospitals and Critical Access hospitals are less likely to have received incentives for EHR adoption, the vast majority still chooses to participate in EHR adoption, and at least half attest to meaningful use of that technology. Initial implementation of the EHR Incentive Program originally raised concern as to whether those hospitals rewarded for expensive technology use would build a gap between wealthier and poorer hospitals. However, hospitals that have trouble accessing the required financing to purchase and fully implement an EHR program are eligible to receive an incentive payment before they meet meaningful use. This is made possible through the Adopt-Implement-Upgrade (AIU) program.

Study authors, Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, Michael F. Furukawa, PhD, Jennifer King, PhD, and Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, report that in examining EHR use:

“Our findings show broad engagement, with more than three-fourths of hospitals qualifying for incentives. Further, among the half of all hospitals that attested to meeting meaningful use through 2012, most were able to go well beyond the minimum required threshold. However, key policy challenges remain, including bringing small, Critical Access hospitals along and helping safety-net institutions transition to achieving meaningful use. Meeting these challenges will be critical to ensuring that all Americans, regardless of where they are treated, receive high quality care.”

Read the article here.
CONTACT: Nicole Beagin
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