HIMSS Analytics: Hospitals on track to meet Stage 1 MU

By Molly Merrill
10:07 AM

More eligible hospitals are likely to succeed in meeting the criteria for Stage 1 meaningful use, indicates data from a new HIMSS Analytics report.

The report “Summary of Meaningful Use Readiness,”  found a 16 percent increase, from 25 to 41 percent in the seven months from February to September 2011, in hospitals being well positioned to meet Stage 1.

Data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also show continued growth in the number of eligible hospitals moving toward or meeting Stage 1. As of Sept. 30, 2011, CMS reported 2,215 eligible hospitals have registered for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs; 564 hospitals (158/Medicare and 406/Medicaid) have received payment for meeting Stage 1 meaningful use, as of this same date.
The recent data from HIMSS Analytics shows 4 percent of U.S. hospitals have achieved Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM), up from 2.6 percent a year ago with the percentage of hospitals achieving Stage 7 increasing in the same time period, from 0.8 percent to 1.1 percent. Thus, as noted in the report, "As more hospitals move toward meeting Stage 1 of meaningful use, an analysis of the movement of hospitals through the HIMSS EMRAM suggests that U.S. hospitals are continuing to advance their EMR capabilities to meet new market demands and requirements."
Just more than one-third of the hospitals represented in this study (39 percent) scored within Stage 3 of the HIMSS Analytics EMRAM, and about 17 percent of the respondents have achieved either Stage 6 or Stage 7 on the EMRAM, explained John P Hoyt, executive vice president, organizational services, HIMSS.  
“Our research indicates that all facilities – including Stage 7 hospitals – need to remain focused on implementing all of the necessary security and privacy measures as they strive to achieve meaningful use,” said Hoyt. “We see hospitals working across the country to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use, and we are pleased at the progress they are making, even though it varies.”
HIMSS Analytics will continue to track the ability of hospitals to meet the meaningful use criteria, which represents HIMSS’ ongoing effort to support and drive the change to improve the delivery of patient care with a smarter, more efficient healthcare system through the adoption of health IT, said officials.
The following are the key findings from the HIMSS Analytics report:
More hospitals have the capability to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use. This study collected data from 778 hospitals from Feb. 1 – Sept. 30, 2011. Results show 10 percent of hospitals are now ready to achieve Stage 1 of meaningful use, meeting all 14 core and five of the required menu items. In addition, 31 percent of hospitals have the capability to meet 10 or more of the process core measures and at least five of the menu items for Stage 1.
Close to 50 percent of hospitals conducted a security risk analysis. Based on the results of this research, almost half of all responding hospitals conducted a security risk analysis as part of their risk management process, with six of the 12 Stage 7 hospitals, and only 45 percent of all hospitals, in this sample, completing this step. In addition, these six Stage 7 hospitals also implemented necessary updates and correctly identified security deficiencies as part of their risk management process.

EMRAM scores and bed size correlate to readiness to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use. Hospitals with a higher rank on the EMRAM and larger by bed size, tended to have higher adoption rates for many meaningful use criteria, and thus, a higher level of sophistication, resulting in an increased capability to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use.
Academic medical centers adopt IT at a more advanced rate than other hospitals. As noted in the report, “for the most part, on a measure-by-measure basis, academic medical centers had a greater likelihood than other hospitals to have the capability to meet meaningful use criteria.” This correlation supports previous HIMSS Analytics research that identified certain market sectors adopting IT at a more advanced rate, and with higher average EMRAM scores than their counterparts.
As for overall readiness to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use, the study found:

  • 10 percent of the 778 hospitals are ready. They can meet all 14 core items and at least five of the 10  menu items identified in the survey.
  • Another 31 percent of the hospitals should be prepared to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use shortly and are  classified as most likely, since they can meet between 10 and 13 of the core items outlined in the meaningful  use requirements and can meet a minimum of three menu items.
  • Just more than 53 percent are classified as not likely with nine or fewer core measures (with any number of menu items).  
  • The final six percent of hospitals did not report that they have the capability to now meet any core or menu measures.                                                                      

Summary of Core and Menu Measures





10.03 percent

Most Likely


30.98 percent

Not Likely


53.47 percent

No Progress Reported


5.53 percent

Total Number of Hospitals


100.00 percent

“We also learned that it will be important to encourage health IT adoption in the mountain region of the country, as hospitals in these areas are slower to embrace health IT, and therefore, may not be ready to meet the Stage 1 meaningful use criteria.”  Hoyt explained HIMSS Analytics used the U.S. Census designation to define the regions in its report; the mountain region includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. He also noted that the $11.9 million the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made available in September 2011 will help support the adoption of health IT and EHR adoption for non-urban and smaller facilities.