ONC: 81% of hospitals plan to apply for EHR incentives

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A vast majority—81 percent—of acute care non-federal hospitals say they will apply for EHR incentive payments, and close to 25 percent of office-based physicians nationwide have adopted an EHR, according to survey results released today by the office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).


The ONC release cites survey results for hospital and physician adoption and intent to pursue EHR incentives from the American Hospital Association and National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Centers for Disease Control), respectively.

Nationwide, 15 percent of acute care non-federal hospitals have adopted at least a “basic” EHR. This represents nearly 75 percent growth since 2008, according to the most recent results of the American Hospital Association’s Survey of IT Adoption. In addition, 81 percent of acute care non-federal hospitals plan to apply for EHR incentive payments. Of those hospitals, 80 percent plan to apply in 2011 or 2012.

Among office-based physicians, close to 25 percent have adopted at least a “basic” EHR, according to the most recent results from the NCHS’ Survey of IT adoption in physician practices. This represents growth of nearly 50 percent since 2008. Some 10 percent report having a “fully functional” EMR.

Growth in EHR adoption was strongest among primary care physicians last year, almost 30 percent of whom have now adopted at least a basic EHR. In addition, 41 percent of office-based physicians plan to apply for EHR incentive payments. Of those physicians, 79 percent plan to apply in 2011 or 2012, according to the NCHS findings.

Which state leads EMR adoption? Utah. A state-by-state breakdown of the data shows Utah leads the country in EHR implementation among office-based physicians. Approximately 52 percent of office-based physicians have at least a “basic” EHR in their practices. The estimated adoption rate among primary care physicians is 64 percent.

Other top implementers include Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Oregon, with roughly 49 percent of office-based physicians in each reporting at least a basic EHR in their practices. Minnesota reports an adoption range of 59 percent among primary care physicians. The estimated adoption rate among primary care physicians is 59 percent in Oklahoma and Oregon. The estimated adoption rate among primary care physicians is 48 percent in Wisconsin.

"More and more physicians are putting a private and secure electronic framework in place to realize long-term improvements in quality of care, efficiency and health costs. But the presence of an EHR does not make a physician a meaningful user," stated David Blumenthal, MD, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in a letter on the ONC's website today.

As defined in the survey, a “basic” EHR might not be adequate to meet the requirements of meaningful use, according to Blumenthal. "Fortunately, additional data commissioned by the [ONC] and carried out in the course of regular annual surveillance by the NCHS and by the [AHA] provide further encouragement that EHR adoption is about to pick up speed."


Click here to view the ONC press release.