EHRs now nearly ubiquitous in hospitals as ONC Annual Meeting gets under way

Half of hospitals routinely use patient information received electronically from other providers, which National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD said is an indication of how far the healthcare industry has come for both patients and clinicians.
By Mike Miliard
11:15 AM
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ONC Karen DeSalvo interoperability EHRs

National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, said new data from ONC and the American Hospital Association shows nearly universal adotion of electronic health records among U.S. hospitals. 

Nearly every U.S. hospital now uses certified electronic health records, according to new research put out today at ONC's annual meeting in Washington – a nine-fold increase in less than a decade since the 2009 HITECH Act spurred widespread IT adoption.

Encouragingly, the survey data gathered by the American Hospital Association also shows that more than 85 percent of hospitals now share clinical information electronically.

According to AHA data published by ONC, use of certified EHRs has increased from almost 72 percent in 2011 to 96 percent in 2015. New data shows that adoption rates for small, rural and critical access hospitals have also increased.

Polling shows the percentage of hospitals sending, receiving and finding key clinical information grew between 2014 and 2015, with about half of hospitals had health information electronically available from providers outside their systems (a five percent uptick from 2014). Meanwhile, about half of hospitals say they "often or sometimes" use patient information received electronically from providers outside their systems.

[Also: ONC's DeSalvo: Time to change the culture of interoperability and health data sharing]

"As we kick off the 2016 ONC Annual Meeting, these data showing nearly universal adoption of certified electronic health records by U.S. hospitals are an indication of how far we have come for clinicians and individuals since the HITECH Act was passed,” National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD, said in a statement.

ONC’s meeting, which will be live-streamed, will tackle priorities such as interoperability, delivery system reform and innovation projects including the Precision Medicine Initiative.

Other agenda items at the ONC meeting this week include three "core commitments" the agency expects from the health IT industry: improving access to patients' health information, combating information blocking and implementing federally recognized standards to enable interoperability across systems.

Citing the need for free flowing data to enable initiatives such as Vice President Biden's Cancer Moonshot and the fight against the ongoing opioid crisis, DeSalvo said she looks "forward to these next three days with leaders from across the country to discuss our collective work to ensure health information can flow where and when it is needed."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com


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