HHS: Growing share of hospitals using some form of EHRs

AHA News Now

The proportion of U.S. hospitals using at least a basic electronic health record system more than doubled between 2009 and 2011 to 35%, the Department of Health and Human Services reported today. The finding is based on HHS' analysis of data from the Health Information Technology supplement to the AHA Annual Survey, conducted from 2008 to 2011, and uses a new definition of "basic EHR" that is not equivalent to meeting the federal "meaningful use" requirements. According to data from HHS, just over 700 hospitals have successfully met the meaningful use criteria and received Medicare payments so far. Payments to hospitals and physicians under both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs total $3.1 billion. Chantal Worzala, AHA director of policy, commented, "Hospitals are making tremendous efforts in adoption of EHRs. Interest in, and commitment to, the meaningful use program is clear, but it will take time and resources for all hospitals, including smaller and rural facilities, to get there. We know that only a small share of hospitals have received meaningful use payments to date. We want to make sure that the program, which includes future penalties, benefits all hospitals, and does not exacerbate the existing digital divide."

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