Health care IT nonprofit HIMSS has shared new data on how a large number of hospitals are ready to satisfy the Obama administration's meaningful-use guidelines on EHRs.
, the research and
analytics arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, has
released a new report showing a 16 percent increase in the likelihood to meet
the criteria for Stage 1 meaningful use of electronic health records.
HIMSS is a nonprofit
organization focused on guiding the health care industry on how to improve care
by using IT systems.
President Obama signed the Health Information Technology for
Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH)
Act in February 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
to set aside $27 billion in incentives for satisfying meaningful
use of EHRs
. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) within
the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is managing the EHR
In September 2011, 41
percent of the 778 hospitals surveyed were expected by HIMSS to meet Stage 1 of
meaningful use, up from 25 percent in February.
A little more than 53
percent were not likely to meet the meaningful-use criteria, according to
Hospitals in small towns and
rural areas have lagged behind in health IT adoption, while cities and academic
medical centers were in the lead, according to John Hoyt, executive vice
president of HIMSS Analytics.
"By and large, those in
large health systems in urban areas typically are ahead," Hoyt told eWEEK.
A lack of funds may be holding
back hospitals in smaller cities and rural areas, according to Hoyt.
"You may have all the
desire in the world, but if you don't have access to capital to buy clinical
systems, that's a challenge and that seems to be the case for the smaller and
rural facilities," Hoyt said.
The Stage 1 meaningful-use
criteria require that doctors have at least 80 percent of patient records in
electronic form. Hospitals must meet 15 core objectives, and eligible medical
professionals must meet 14.
maintaining an active medication list, performing drug-allergy interaction
checks, providing patients with electronic records upon request and protecting
EHR data. In addition, doctors must use computerized provider order entry
(CPOE) for ordering medication, equipment and tests.
Some hearings at CMS have
taken place on Stage 2, and notice for Stage 2 compliance is expected in
January 2013, Hoyt said. Stage 3 guidelines are due in 2015.
Of the hospitals
interviewed, 10 percent are ready to meet Stage 1 meaningful-use criteria (14
core areas and five required menu items) now.
Meanwhile, 31 percent are
close behind, satisfying at least 10 of the process core measures and at least
five of the menu items.
"We're seeing a good
increase from last winter on a percentage of hospitals who are able to meet the
criteria," Hoyt said. "It tells us clearly people are working on
it," he added.
HIMSS announced its new
report, called the "Summary of Meaningful Use Readiness," on Nov. 1.
It's the first in a quarterly series of reports detailing hospitals' progress
on meaningful use.
CMS' stages for meaningful-use
adoption are based on HIMSS' EMR Adoption
(EMRAM), according to Hoyt. EMRAM tracks hospitals' adoption of EHRs
in eight stages (0 through 7). Stage 0 is before lab, radiology and pharmacy
systems are installed, and Stage 1 involves the installation of those three
systems. In Stage 7, a hospital or physician's office has installed a complete
Hospitals with a higher
EMRAM were more likely to meet meaningful-use criteria, according to HIMSS.
"The higher EMRAM
rankings mean they have a higher adoption of clinical technology," Hoyt
Hospitals that had completed
HIMSS' Stages 6 and 7 were in line to meet CMS' Stage 1 meaningful-use
requirements, Hoyt said.
"They're ahead of the
game, and they're more likely to earn Stage 1 because they've already been
investing for years in clinical information technology," he said.
Hospitals must also conduct
a security risk analysis as part of the meaningful-use process, and 45 percent
of the facilities surveyed had completed this task.
Six of the 12 Stage 7
(HIMSS) hospitals completed security updates and identified areas in which to
improve their risk management.