A large-scale review of data related to hospital compliance with federal electronic health records mandates reveals that most U.S. hospitals have made substantial progress toward EHR adoption. Nonetheless, because considerable federal dollars are tied to complete adoption, many hospitals — especially small rural ones — could forfeit millions as key deadlines approach.
Already, some hospitals have failed to meet meaningful-use guidelines by the July 1, 2014 deadline.
From the high level view, the researchers concluded that the outcomes seen so far are somewhat the expected ones: large players are doing fairly well while smaller ones are struggling. Resources have a lot to do with the outcomes.
The struggle to comply by small rural hospitals has “important implications for the work of Regional Extension Centers — whose primary purpose is to help small institutions, particularly critical-access hospitals, adopt and use EHRs — as well as for other initiatives that target rural providers and care settings.”
“Taken together, these findings represent continuing progress on the part of hospitals in response to the federal incentives. The results also offer clear indicators of where additional efforts are needed,” the researchers said. “These findings may be surprising given the broad reliance on the Internet and information sharing in other sectors of the economy. However, the strict privacy concerns related to health information and the complexity of the data create operational challenges for interoperability. Hospitals have added other challenging features such as physician notes and electronic prescribing. Nonetheless, they appear to be struggling with online access and transmittal of patients’ health information and with sending information to the next provider of care.”