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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Some Hospitals, Clinics at Risk of Not Qualifying for Federal EHR Funds


Just How far along are we on the tracks of the Health Train ??

Most clinics and some hospitals are behind in their efforts to switch to electronic health record systems to qualify for payments under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, according to a new report from HIMSS Analytics, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's research unit,

Report Findings

According to the HIMSS Analytics report, 30% to 40% of U.S. hospitals could be at risk financially and operationally for not meeting the meaningful use criteria.

Meanwhile, more than 50% of independent clinics in the U.S. are at risk for not meeting meaningful use criteria.

The survey also offered insight into where hospitals are on HIMMS' seven-stage EHR adoption model. Stage 0 is the lowest level of IT adoption and Stage 7 is the highest.

The report found that in 2009:

  • 7% of hospitals were at Stage 1 -- which means that they have lab, radiology and pharmacy systems set up -- down from 12% in 2008;
  • 17% of hospitals were at Stage 2 -- which means they have a controlled medical vocabulary, limited clinical-decision support and the ability for health data through a continuity-of-care document format, plus all Stage 1 systems and functions -- down from 31% in 2008;
  • 51% of hospitals were at Stage 3 -- which means that they have computerized systems for nursing documentation, picture archiving and communication outside of the radiology department, and advanced error-checking and clinical decision-support functions, plus all Stage 2 systems and functions -- up from 36% in 2008; and
  • 14% of hospitals were at Stage 4 or higher, more than twice the rate -- 6% -- in 2008.

John Hoyt, vice president of health care organizational services at HIMSS, said the survey shows that a digital divide remains between larger and urban hospitals and smaller and rural facilities, adding that the national financial crisis played a factor in the problem.

Hoyt said that hospitals are expected to spend more on health IT applications through 2015, in part because of federal stimulus funding.

According to HIMSS Analytics, hospital capital spending for health IT is projected to increase by 2% between 2009 and 2010, and hospital capital spending for software applications is expected to account for 46.5% to 48.3% of the total IT capital budgets in 2010


The federal time table for adoption of EMR is unrealistic, and many users will chose the incorrect and/or inadequate HIT solution to qualilfy for the federal incentive payment.

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The time period for announcement, closure and choice of grantees is too short, and many potential recipients do not become aware of them until too late.