HIMSS Analytics, the research and analytics arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, has released a new report showing a 16 percent increase in the likelihood to meet the criteria for Stage 1 meaningful use of electronic health records.
HIMSS is a nonprofit organization focused on guiding the health care industry on how to improve care by using IT systems.
President Obama signed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in February 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to set aside $27 billion in incentives for satisfying meaningful use of EHRs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is managing the EHR incentive program.
In September 2011, 41 percent of the 778 hospitals surveyed were expected by HIMSS to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use, up from 25 percent in February.
A little more than 53 percent were not likely to meet the meaningful-use criteria, according to HIMSS.
Hospitals in small towns and rural areas have lagged behind in health IT adoption, while cities and academic medical centers were in the lead, according to John Hoyt, executive vice president of HIMSS Analytics.
"By and large, those in large health systems in urban areas typically are ahead," Hoyt told eWEEK.
A lack of funds may be holding back hospitals in smaller cities and rural areas, according to Hoyt.
"You may have all the desire in the world, but if you don't have access to capital to buy clinical systems, that's a challenge and that seems to be the case for the smaller and rural facilities," Hoyt said.
The Stage 1 meaningful-use criteria require that doctors have at least 80 percent of patient records in electronic form. Hospitals must meet 15 core objectives, and eligible medical professionals must meet 14.
Objectives include maintaining an active medication list, performing drug-allergy interaction checks, providing patients with electronic records upon request and protecting EHR data. In addition, doctors must use computerized provider order entry (CPOE) for ordering medication, equipment and tests.
Some hearings at CMS have taken place on Stage 2, and notice for Stage 2 compliance is expected in January 2013, Hoyt said. Stage 3 guidelines are due in 2015.
Of the hospitals interviewed, 10 percent are ready to meet Stage 1 meaningful-use criteria (14 core areas and five required menu items) now.
Meanwhile, 31 percent are close behind, satisfying at least 10 of the process core measures and at least five of the menu items.
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