Study: Privacy laws deter hospitals from EMR adoption

By Molly Merrill
10:38 AM

Hospitals have seen a decrease in EMR adoption in states where privacy laws restrict their ability to disclose patient information, according to a study published in the journal Management Science.

The study shows that states that have enacted medical privacy laws restricting the ability of hospitals to disclose patient information have seen a reduction in EMR adoption by 11 percent over a three-year period or 24 percent overall. States with no such regulations, on the other hand, experienced a 21 percent gain in hospital EMR adoption.

According to the study, the drop is most evident in the reduced adoption of EMRs through networks of hospitals and medical providers. In states without such laws, adoption of EMRs by one hospital spurs adoption by others, with one hospital's adoption increasing the likelihood of other hospitals in the local area adopting by 7 percent.

The study's authors, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Virginia, say privacy protection may benefit the diffusion of information-sharing technologies if it reassures consumers, but may inhibit the diffusion of information-sharing technologies if it imposes costs on firms who adopt the technology.