(HealthDay News) – In regard to the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), achievement of “meaningful use” criteria is not uniform across all hospitals, according to a study published in the August issue of Health Affairs.

Catherine M. DesRoches, DrPH, from Mathematica Policy Research in Cambridge, MA, and colleagues analyzed data to assess how EHR incentive payments are distributed across hospital types and years.

The researchers observed a substantial increase in the percentage of hospitals receiving EHR incentive payments between 2011 and 2012 (17.4% to 36.8%). The overall proportion of hospitals receiving a payment for meaningful use was low and the increase in payments was not uniform across hospitals. The risk for failing to meet Medicare’s meaningful use criteria was greatest at critical-access, smaller, and publicly-owned or nonprofit hospitals.

“To address the needs of institutions in danger of incurring these [financial] penalties, policy makers could implement targeted grant programs and provide additional information technology workforce support,” the authors write.

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