HIMSS Analytics: Hospitals Slow To Progress in Their Use of EHRs

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Meaningful UseUSA, October 28, 2013 - Many hospitals have implemented electronic health record systems, but they're not rushing to embrace all that they may offer according to a new report from HIMSS Analytics.

HIMSS maintains an eight-stage framework for monitoring hospitals' use and development of EHRs, called the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) scale.

According to Lorren Pettit, vice president of market research for HIMSS Analytics, the most recent review of 4,811 hospitals found that about three-fourths (73.7 percent) have advanced at least one stage in the past five years; 20 percent have advanced four or more stages during that time period.

However, one-fourth of the hospitals have not progressed at all, and 4 percent are still at stage zero, which means that they're still paper records-based.

"Hospitals by and large have made great strides in advancing their EMR capabilities, yet there is a sizeable segment of the market that seems to be 'stuck' in their EMR progression and is at risk of being left behind by the rest of the herd [of U.S. hospitals]," Pettit said.

"Efforts need to be taken now to address their needs and challenges to ensure these "at-risk" hospitals survive for the next five years."

Although Pettit doesn't posit as to why EHR progression seems to have stalled, an EHR Intelligence post speculates that the reasons may include the additional finances needed to use advanced systems; hospitals also only need to reach Stage 4 in order to meet the current Meaningful Use requirements.

The industry continues to express concern that it is unprepared to move to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program.

As of September, almost $15.9 billion in incentive payments have been distributed to providers for Stage 1 attestation.