According to data from a new survey released at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., nearly all of the nation’s hospitals have adopted certified electronic health records (EHRs).
This represents a nine-fold increase since 2008, according to survey data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) Information Technology Supplement. The data also show there have been increases in sharing health data among hospitals, with over 85 percent of hospitals sending key clinical information electronically.
The ONC said the adoption rate of certified EHRs has increased from almost 72 percent in 2011 (when this information began to be collected) to 96 percent in 2015.
While the overall rate for the use of certified health IT has remained stable, the new data show that adoption rates for small, rural, and critical access hospitals increased.
The AHA data also show that:
- The percentage of hospitals sending, receiving and finding key clinical information grew between 2014 and 2015.
- In 2015, about half of hospitals had health information electronically available from providers outside their systems; this grew by five percent from 2014.
- About half of hospitals report they often or sometimes use patient information they receive electronically from providers outside their systems.
The adoption of advanced HER (those with higher levels of functionality storing electronic records and clinician notes) is lagging however. Only 40 percent of hospitals achieved this in 2015.
Fewer than 20 percent of hospitals said their providers used patient health information received electronically from outside their hospital system on a regular basis. Thirty-six percent reported their providers rarely or never used such data in treating patients.
The most routinely-reported reason for this was interoperability; information received form external providers could not be viewed in local EHRs and vice-versa.
Washington has described the flow of health information as “critical to many of our national priorities.”