Health Information Management

Study finds hospitals have a long way to go in terms of EHR implementation

HIM-HIPAA Insider, April 7, 2009

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Hospitals are still behind the eight ball when it comes to implementing EHRs, according to a March 25 online report published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Only 1.5% of the 3,049 U.S. hospitals surveyed had a comprehensive system (i.e., it includes hospital-wide clinical documentation of cases, test results, prescription and test ordering, plus support for decision-making that includes treatment guidelines).

Approximately 8% of hospitals have an EHR that includes physician and nursing notes, but these systems do not have decision support. Approximately 11% have a basic system that does not include physician and nursing notes, and which staff members can only use in one area of the hospital. Seventeen percent of the hospitals surveyed had e-prescribing capability.

"The very low levels of adoption of electronic health records in U.S. hospitals suggest that policymakers face substantial obstacles to the achievement of health care performance goals that depend on health information technology," states the report. "A policy strategy focused on financial support, interoperability, and training of technical support staff may be necessary to spur adoption of electronic-records systems in U.S. hospitals."



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