The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation first published their inaugural report on Health Information Technology in the U.S. in 2006; since then a lot has changed. One example is The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology having a tight budget, while few hospital beds had operating electronic health records.
Since that time, federal support has vaulted major progress in electronic health record adoption by providers, as noted in the 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation annual report. Yet a further inspection of the report reveals that while providers have made considerable progress and strides in health information technology, they still have quite a ways to go.
Based on the graphs that accompanied the report, it was inferred that current trends in Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption was how many providers are employing basic systems rather than comprehensive systems; as well as how many companies are utilizing high-level software sanctioned by the government.
Most, 44 percent, had at least a basic EHR in 2012; 27.3 percent had a step-up basic EHR in 2012, and only 16.7 percent had a comprehensive EHR.
According to Forbes, analyst at the International Strategy & Investment Group, Michael Cherny sent out a public letter, notifying clients on the report.
"This study shows some of the challenges with evaluating true market adoption, as it significantly lags the level of adoption seen in the CMS data on stimulus spending (where more than 80 percent of eligible hospitals have received payments for being meaningful users of EHRs)," he wrote.
"But the underlying data from this study shows the continued need to invest further in technology in order to effectively use the data contained in EHRs to drive improved health outcomes and more efficient delivery of care."
The report also covers and offers significant inside information on health information exchanges (HIE), discovering that financial stability is still the greatest challenge confronted by state and regional HIEs. Providers have not been willing to cover the costs for HIE to a certain degree and insurers have been able to support such efforts on a consistent basis, the report notes.
"The hope is that forces beyond HITECH will help promote HIE and create a stronger business case. In particular, new approaches to the delivery and payment of care, such as Accountable Care Organizations, could increase demand for HIE and related services," the report authors wrote.
In closing, the report proposed three tips for making HIE more appealing and stable:
1- Ensure that Stage 3 of meaningful use substantially increases requirements for HIE to increase provider demand for such capabilities
2- Better engage payers in HIE by determining what is holding them back and designing appropriate policies
3- Emphasize to states the need to identify sustainable business models. "While every state has a plan, the viability of these plans has not been rigorously assessed.”