The HITECH Act is likely spurring a recent increase in the adoption of EHR technology in healthcare organizations. The National Center for Health Statistics cites the average adoption rate at around half of the total physicians in the U.S.
EHR Use Increases
Since the beginning of Electronic Health Records, their use has grown swiftly over the years. However, recent studies are showing that this growth varies greatly across the country. The National Center for Health Statistics published a data brief in January 2014 about EHR use among office-based physicians in the United States from 2001- 2014. The brief revealed that 78.4% of office-based physicians used an EHR system in 2013, increasing from 48% in 2009 and from 18% in 2001. The HITECH Act, which established Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs, was introduced in 2009, and was a likely motive for the significant increase from 2009 to 2013.
Though use has grown about 21% from 2012 (71.8%) to 2013 (78.4%), EHR adoption has been quite uneven when considered geographically. The national average of the percentage of physicians with a system meeting the criteria for basic EHR was reported to be 48%.
Eight states had a percentage below the national average, with the lowest being in New Jersey:
• Maryland (37.1%)
• Wyoming (37.1%)
• Vermont (37%)
• Oklahoma (36.9%)
• West Virginia (36.9%)
• Connecticut (30.1%)
• Nevada (33%)
• New Jersey (21.2%)
Meanwhile, nine states were above the national average, with North Dakota reporting the highest percentage:
• North Dakota (82.9%)
• Minnesota (75.5%)
• Massachusetts (70.6%)
• Wisconsin (67.9%)
• Iowa (65.5%)
• Utah (65.5%)
• Oregon (64.9%)
• Washington (60.6%)
• South Dakota (58.1%)
The data brief also indicated that in 2013, 69% of office-based physicians were intending to participate in the Meaningful Use program, but only 13% of those wanting to participate reported EHR systems that could support the required 14 out of 17 objectives for MU Stage 2 (more information regarding Stage 2 can be found at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website).
Though this is a small fraction of physicians, the study has shown that since 2010, EHR adoption has greatly increased for the seven objectives for which data is available:
• Recording patient history and demographic information (74.3%-83%)
• Ordering prescriptions (57.2%-82.6%)
• Sending prescriptions to pharmacy electronically (43.8%-78.7%)
• Providing warnings of drug interactions and contraindications (43.6%-73.8%)
• Ordering lab tests (48.5%-68.9%)
• Providing reminders for guideline based interventions (37.9%-56.8%)
• Reporting to immunization registries electronically (26.9%-39.1%)
Author: Apoorva Anupindi