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Health Information Technology in the United States: Progress on EHRs & HIEs

A new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report examines progress of physicians and hospitals in adopting electronic health records [EHRs]. Using the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the American Hospital Association, the researchers found physician use of EHRs reached 57% in 2011. EHR adoption grew most quickly among primary care physicians, younger physicians, and those in the Northeast U.S. Hospital adoption of EHRs jumped from 15.1% in 2010 to 26.6% in 2011, with 8.7% of hospitals using comprehensive EHR systems. Adoption was more frequent among large, teaching, and urban hospitals.

The report also provides data on the growth in state health information exchanges [HIEs] and regional health information organizations [RHIOs]. Researchers identified 80 RHIOs in operation and another 82 in the planning stages. Fourteen percent of hospitals and 3 percent of ambulatory practices were participating in an RHIO.

An interview with David Blumenthal, the immediate past coordinator of the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is included as well as a discussion of the importance of health information technology to successful health reform models such as patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations.


DesRoches CM and others, ed. Health information technology in the United States: driving toward delivery system change, 2012. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,  2012. http://www.rwjf.org/qualityequality/product.jsp?id=74262&cid=XEM_A5941

Related sources:

DesRoches CM and others.  Small, nonteaching, and rural hospitals continue to be slow in adopting electronic health record systems. Health Affairs, Apr. 2012 [web pre-print publication]. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2012/04/19/hlthaff.2012.0153

Hsiao CJ and others. Electronic health record systems and intent to apply for meaningful use incentives among office-based physician practices, 2001-2011.  NCHS [National Center for Health Statistics] Data Brief , no. 79, Nov. 2011,  revised Feb. 8, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/DB79.pdf UPDATED REPORT NOW AVAILBABLE: Jamoom E and others. Physician adoption of electronic health records systems: United States, 2011. NCHS Data Brief, No. 98, July 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db98.pdf

Charles D and others. Electronic health record systems and intent to attest to meaningful use among non-federal acute care hospitals in the United States: 2008-2011. ONC Data Brief [Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology], no. 1, Feb. 2012.  http://www.healthit.gov/media/pdf/ONC_Data_Brief_AHA_2011.pdf

EHR incentive program: active registrations. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, May 2012. http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Downloads/Monthly_Payment_Reports_May_2012-.pdf. Updated monthly at http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/DataAndReports.html

Electronic health records: first year of CMS’s incentive programs shows opportunities to improve processes to verify providers met requirements. Report to Congressional Committees. U.S. General Accountability Office, Apr. 30, 2012. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-481

Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Where are office-based physicians and hospitals on electronic health record adoption?

Half of all office-based physicians in the US have partially or  fully adopted electronic medical/health records, according to recent survey data from the National Center for Health Statistics. A quarter of the physicians had a basic system in place, while 10% of all office-based physicians met the criteria for a fully functioning system [a subset of the basic system].

Another study published by Health Affairs reported that 12% of hospitals had adopted basic or comprehensive electronic health records, based on a 2009 EHR adoption survey conducted by the American Hospital Association.  About 2% of hospitals at the time would have met the federal ‘meaningful use’ criteria.  Results from a 2010 hospital EHR adoption survey will become available from AHA this spring.

The  hospital EHR adoption survey databases are available for purchase from AHA. Custom files and data analyses from the surveys may also be available. For further information, contact the AHA Resource Center at 1-312-422-2050 or rc@aha.org.


Hsiao CH and others. Electronic medical record/electronic health record systems of office-based physicians: United States, 2009 and preliminary 2010 state estimates. NCHS Health E-States [National Center for Health Statistics], Dec. 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/emr_ehr_09/emr_ehr_09.htm

Jha AK and others. A progress report on electronic health records in U.S. hospitals. Health Affairs, 29(10): 1951-1957,  Aug. 26, 2010 [published online]. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/29/10/1951.abstract

American Hospital Association. Hospital EHR adoption database. Chicago: Health Forum, 2010. http://www.ahadata.com/ahadata/html/EHRdatabase.html.