Electronic Health Records have a long, long way to go

I’m on record as being a pessimist on the adoption of EHRs across America. I’m just saying.


Although doctors who are using electronic health records in a meaningful way are eligible for a $44,000 bonus from the U.S. government, many still haven’t adopted the new technology, a new study shows.

Overall, just one in six doctors has adopted electronic health records significantly enough to qualify for the bonus, the study found.

“These are the doctors that have attested to using the electronic health records. My guess is that more people are on the journey [to using electronic records] than have attested to it. But, there are still some physicians who haven’t started using electronic health records at all,” said the study’s lead author, Adam Wright, a senior research scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.


Less than 10% of specialists and 17.8% of primary care providers attested to enough meaningful use to receive incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid as of May 2012, according to a letter published in the Feb. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The letter itself:

Although these data suggest rapid growth in the number of providers achieving meaningful use, this pace must accelerate for most eligible professionals to avoid penalties in 2015. Barriers to EHR adoption and meaningful use include cost, lack of knowledge, workflow challenges, and lack of interoperability. A total of 62 federally funded regional extension centers assist eligible professionals with EHR adoption. These centers have exceeded their enrollment targets, but only 15.9% of eligible professionals who have enrolled in regional extension centers have shown meaningful use, and long-term financial support for the regional extension centers is uncertain.

My pessimism continues. Throwing money at the problem isn’t enough.


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