The US health care system is in the midst of an enormous change in the way health care providers and hospitals document, monitor, and share information about health and care delivery. Part of this transition involves a wholesale, but currently uneven, shift from paper-based records to electronic health record (EHR) systems. We used the most recent longitudinal survey of US hospitals to track how they are adopting and using EHR systems. Only 44 percent of hospitals report having and using what we define as at least a basic EHR system. And although 42.2 percent meet all of the federal stage 1 “meaningful-use” criteria, only 5.1 percent could meet the broader set of stage 2 criteria. Large urban hospitals continue to outpace rural and nonteaching hospitals in adopting EHR systems. The increase in adoption overall suggests that the positive and negative financial incentives currently in place across the US health care system are working as intended. However, achieving a nationwide health information technology infrastructure may require efforts targeted at smaller and rural hospitals.
DesRoches, Catherine M.; Charles, Dustin; Furukawa, Michael F.; Joshi, Maulik S.; Kralovec, Peter; Mostashari, Farzad; Worzala, Chantal; Jha, Ashish K., Health Affairs, Published online, DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0308