Nearly all reported non-Federal, acute care hospitals–96 percent–possessed a certified electronic health record (EHR) technology in 2015, according to data released from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Eighty-four percent of hospitals had adopted at least a Basic EHR system by 2015, showing a ninefold increase since 2008, when only 9.4 percent of hospitals had adopted a least a basic EHR system.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 and the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan both emphasize the adoption and use of EHRs. Since they were created, the percentage of non-Federal, acute care hospitals with adoption of a basic EHR has risen from 12.2 percent in 2009 to 83.8 percent in 2015.

The report also revealed that certain types of hospitals adopt EHRs at a much lower rate:

  • From 2011-2015, small, rural, and critical access hospitals adopted basic EHRs at a 3 percent to 9 percent lower rate than non-Federal, acute care hospitals.
  • In 2015, only 15 percent of psychiatric hospitals and 55 percent of children’s hospitals had adopted a basic EHR.

Yet, there is improvement occurring in these areas:

  • Since 2014, small and rural hospitals increased their adoption by 14 percent, and critical access hospitals increased their adoption by 18 percent.
  • From 2008-2015, psychiatric hospitals increased their adoption by 8 percent, and children’s hospitals increased their adoption 45 percent.

Of those 96 percent of non-Federal, acute care hospitals using EHR technology, more than 80 percent are adopting EHRs with advanced levels of functionality–including comprehensive EHRs and basic EHRs with clinician notes. There was an 11 percent increase in the adoption of EHRs with advanced functionality and a 42 percent decrease in the use of less advanced EHRs between 2014 and 2015.

The ONC released this study on the first day of its 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., where key public and private sector players come together to discuss the secure flow of health care information through delivery system reform.

“As we kick off the 2016 ONC Annual Meeting, these data showing nearly universal adoption of certified electronic health records by U.S. hospitals are an indication of how far we have come for clinicians and individuals since the HITECH Act was passed,” said Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This year’s ONC Annual Meeting, with the theme “Better Health Through IT,” aims to improve consumer access to health information, combat information blocking, and create Federally recognized, national standards for health systems to speak the same language.

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