HIMSS Analytics: EHR Incentives Spurring Advanced Health IT Use


The meaningful use program could be spurring the adoption and use of higher-level health IT functions at U.S. hospitals, according to an analysis from HIMSS Analytics, FierceEMR reports. HIMSS Analytics is the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (Hall, FierceEMR, 1/16).

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Details of the Analysis

HIMSS Analytics measured the sophistication of hospital EHR systems by conducting surveys and comparing reported data against its Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 1/15).

EMRAM is an eight-stage model -- ranging from stages 0 to 7 -- used to classify an institution's level of health IT adoption. To receive a Stage 7 EMRAM ranking, a hospital must have a nearly paperless environment, as well as a range of data exchange and interoperability capabilities (iHealthBeat, 5/2/12).

Main Findings

The report found that from the third quarter of 2011 through the third quarter of 2012, there has been:

  • An 80% increase in the number of hospitals reaching EMRAM Stage 5 or 6;
  • A 63% increase in the number of hospitals reaching EMRAM Stage 7; and
  • A more than 10% decline in the number of hospitals in EMRAM Stages 1, 2 and 3.

Overall, 104 facilities -- or 1.8% of U.S. hospitals -- have earned Stage 7 status, while 430 facilities -- or 7.3% of U.S. hospitals -- have earned Stage 6 status, according to the analysis (FierceEMR, 1/16).

Comments on Findings

John Hoyt -- executive vice president of HIMSS Analytics -- said the findings suggest "that the HITECH portion of the 2009 stimulus law is achieving its intended result of encouraging increased implementation and meaningful use of electronic health records among hospitals" (Japsen, Forbes, 1/16).

He said that facilities moving to the higher EMRAM stages are laying the foundation for greater interoperability to occur (Modern Healthcare, 1/15).

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