HIMSS Analytics Introduces Framework for Ambulatory Health IT Adoption

In 2009, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey reported 1 billion visits to office-based physicians in the United States

CHICAGO (June 11, 2012) – With U.S. healthcare focused on improving care delivery with meaningful use of health information technology, HIMSS Analytics continues to track progress of electronic medical record implementation with its EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM) for hospitals, and now, for ambulatory facilities.  The Ambulatory EMR Adoption ModelSM (A-EMRAM) now tracks IT adoption in more than 28,000 ambulatory facilities in the HIMSS Analytics® Database that are part of a hospital or hospital system, such as physician practices, clinics, outpatient centers and specialty clinics.

HIMSS Analytics recognized the need for this evaluation tool, since more than 26 percent of healthcare expenditures relate to ambulatory care, according to the Centers for Medicare &  Medicaid Services.  “We want to identify the vital health IT systems, and best practices around the use of those systems, while at the same time, provide industry research to help guide ambulatory facilities as they strive to adopt health IT systems that improve outcomes and patient convenience,” says John P. Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, HIMSS Analytics.

Software and healthcare providers reviewed the A-EMRAM during its development providing valuable feedback and guidance to HIMSS Analytics in establishing realistic and achievable metrics for each stage.  Just as with hospitals, HIMSS Analytics will conduct an on-site visit of ambulatory facilities to verify the Stage 7 ranking.

The A-EMRAM offers a framework for dialogue on IT implementation not only in the United States, but also, in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, where HIMSS Analytics will use this tool. “We want to ‘push the market’ because we believe ambulatory facilities should be able to reach Stage 7 with the health IT software now available in the marketplace. However, we also know it will take some time for these same facilities to achieve this level of sophistication, which requires participation in a health information exchange, use of a community medical record and analysis and application of clinical and business intelligence to help improve patient care.”

The A-EMRAM now measures those ambulatory facilities tethered to a hospital or hospital system, and it can be adapted to include independent physician practices and other un-tethered ambulatory sites.  As the current data on the A-EMRAM indicates, of the 9,247  ambulatory facilities now reporting data in the HIMSS Analytics database, none is at Stage 7 and 1.2 percent rank at Stage 6.  Just over one-third, or 34 percent, is at Stage 2 with almost half, or 48 percent, paper-chart based at Stage 0.  An explanation of each stage appears on the HIMSS Analytics website.

Like the acute care EMRAM, the basic A-EMRAM construct was devised before the final definition of Meaningful Use Stage 1 for Eligible Providers.  HIMSS Analytics will publish a more detailed white paper on the correlations between the current meaningful use Stage 1 regulations for eligible providers, knowing that it may change when meaningful use Stage 2 regulations are finalized later in 2012.  However, most likely, an A-EMRAM Stage 4 facility will meet the criteria to qualify for Stage 1 incentives for meaningful use for Core measures and for five of the Menu measures including the public health objectives.

Visit theHIMSS Analytics website for more information on the A-EMRAM.
About HIMSS Analytics

HIMSS Analytics is a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The company collects and analyzes healthcare data related to IT processes and environments, products, IS department composition and costs, IS department management metrics, healthcare trends and purchase-related decisions. HIMSS Analytics delivers high quality data and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, healthcare IT companies, state governments, financial companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms.  Visit www.himssanalytics.org/ for more information.