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US Hospitals Fail to Meet EHR standards – Study Says

by | Jan 29, 2015 | Blog, Healthcare News

EHRImplementation of electronic health records is considered a practical solution that will help streamline processes in healthcare settings, while also ensuring enhanced patient care and support. However, a recent survey conducted by the American Hospital Association found that most American hospitals have failed to meet the new national standards for electronic health record keeping. It was found that these hospitals have made considerable delay in implementing EHR systems such as online messaging and automatic prescription tracking.

Majority of the hospitals in the United States utilize healthcare EMR system and follow most or many of the 16 requirements lay down by the federal regulators. More than 6% of hospitals meet all the mandates such as automatic medication tracking and online messaging (for patient communication). Those hospitals and healthcare centers that fail to meet the prescribed deadlines may be docked a portion of health insurance reimbursement.

As part of the survey, data was collected from more than 2,647 short-term acute general hospitals that had participated in the survey. It was studied how well these hospitals complied with the required standards.

The HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) promotes the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology by offering incentives through Medicaid and Medicare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers financial incentives for the meaningful use of certified EMR technology to improve patient care.

They created benchmarks for the meaningful use of EMR that featured stages such as –

  • Stage 1 – This stage promoted a basic EHR adoption and data gathering. Hospitals and healthcare centers were to implement a basic electronic health system that essentially met 14 core objectives starting from patient enrollment, and recording demographic information to monitoring patient medications.
  • Stage 2 – This stage focuses on care coordination and exchange of patient information. A more robust usage of systems is essential such as incorporating online lab test results and checking whether they comply with the updated software standards.

CMS released a notice of proposed rule-making in May, which if approved would extend the deadline to meet Stage 2.

A considerable increase was made in the adoption and meaningful usage of electronic health records, which signifies that patients have become more aware about the potential benefits of health IT. A study published in the Journal Health Affairs found that in 2013, about 8 in 10 (that is 78%) office-based physicians adopted usage of some kind of EHR system. When compared to the figures in 2009, about half of the physicians (48%) utilized EHR systems with advanced functionalities in 2013. An ongoing increase in the use of this digital technology would certainly improve the nation’s healthcare delivery system and health outcomes.

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