(HealthDay News) — Most U.S. hospitals and office-based physicians have adopted electronic health records (EHR), according to two studies published in the August issue of Health Affairs.
Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used recent data from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey of Hospitals-IT Supplement to examine progress and challenges in EHR adoption. The researchers found that EHR adoption has continued to increase sharply among U.S. hospitals, with 59% now having at least a basic EHR. Adoption was lower at small and rural hospitals versus better-resourced hospitals. Only 5.8% of hospitals were able to meet all stage 2 meaningful use criteria, although most hospitals were able to meet some criteria.
Michael F. Furukawa, PhD, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD, and colleagues used data from the 2009–2013 Electronic Health Records Survey to examine adoption and use of EHR systems. The researchers found that 78% of office-based physicians had adopted some type of EHR system, and 48% had a basic system. Persistent gaps were seen in EHR adoption, with lower adoption among physicians in solo practices and non-primary care specialties. Electronic health information exchange between physicians was limited, and few physicians routinely used secure messaging with patients (30%) or provided patients with the ability to view, download, or transmit their health record (24%).
“These findings suggest that although EHR adoption continues to grow, policies to support health information exchange and patient engagement will require ongoing attention,” Furukawa and colleagues write.