EMR Adoption Higher When Fewer Privacy Laws Exist

Everyone knows that HIPAA rules the privacy world of healthcare.  However, each state actually has their own laws governing the privacy of patient data and in particular data stored in an EMR.  I recently came across an interesting study talking about how those states which have fewer privacy laws for patient data actually have higher EMR adoption rates.  Here’s a short section from the article:

State laws in place to protect patients’ confidentiality may be causing some hospitals to be more skittish about adopting electronic medical records systems, a factor that could impede the push for the industry to go paperless, a study says.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Virginia recently concluded that state privacy regulations reduce aggregate EMR adoption by between 20% and 30%. States that got rid of some of their regulations experienced a 21% gain in hospital EMR adoption rates around the years the laws changed compared with just an 11% gain in states that kept them intact, said the study.

This is really interesting, because I would have initially just called privacy laws an excuse. However, if this study holds true, then it’s more than just an excuse for why EMR adoption is low. Granted, it’s just one of many that people are using. I also think it’s worth noting that this is talking about EMR adoption in hospitals. I’m not sure most small doctors’ offices really pay enough attention to HIPAA and privacy rules for it to affect their adoption of EMR.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • “I’m not sure most small doctors’ offices really pay enough attention to HIPAA and privacy rules for it to affect their adoption of EMR.” The author nailed it right there.

    As a dentist, EHRs simply have nothing worthwhile to offer my practice. They are expensive and dangerous. Who needs that? D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

  • I would disagree with you on one point. EHR can offer a lot of great things to a practice. Just depends on how well they’re implemented.

    My theory is that a well run practice will really benefit from what will become a well implemented EHR. A poorly run practice will just have their problems exacerbated when they implement an EHR.

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