Study: Meaningful Use Drives Hospital EMR Adoption

If there was any doubt, the following data may remove it: Meaningful Use is driving hospital EMR adoption. A new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concludes that the number of hospitals which  have implemented at least a basic EMR has tripled since 2010, when the MU incentive program kicked off, Reuters reports.

The number of hospitals with some form of EMR in place hit 44 percent in 2012, climbing 17 percentage points from 2011. Hospitals most likely to have at least a basic EMR in place are large, non-profit teaching hospitals in urban areas, found the report.

Meanwhile, twenty-seven percent of hospitals are now linked via some form of HIE to other hospitals, up from just 14 percent in 2010, according to researchers. They found that test results and summary patient care records were most commonly exchanged

The study, which was coauthored by the Harvard School of Public Health and Mathematica Policy Research, also found that doctors have come a long way toward greater EMR use, with roughly 38 percent having at least a baseline EMR in place.

All that being said, the growth in EMR adoption isn’t exactly burning up the track. While there’s clearly been significant progress in EMR adoption over the past few years, the fact that adoption among hospitals is still below 50 percent despite the incentives and industry pressure in place speaks volumes.

And if my colleague John Lynn is right, we’re already past the “Golden Age” of EMR adoption in which the early adopters and even much of the majority come board. In his view, getting those on board who haven’t come yet is going to be akin to climbing Mount Everest:

“The reality is that those who wanted to adopt EHR already have adopted EHR. That means we have left a group of practices and hospitals that for the most part aren’t EHR convinced.”

If John’s right, and I suspect he is, we’re looking at a whole new battle to win EMR hearts and minds. It’s going to be a struggle to be sure.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

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