Hospitals that are not eligible for meaningful use incentive payments are less likely to adopt electronic health record (EHR) systems, according to a study in Health Affairs.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
However, the incentive program excludes certain health care providers are such as home health agencies, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, and nursing homes.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from the 2009 health IT supplement to the American Hospital Association survey. The survey included:
- 4,629 general short-term acute care hospitals;
- 466 psychiatric hospitals;
- 401 long-term acute care hospitals; and
- 237 rehabilitation hospitals.
Based on the survey, researchers determined that 12% of short-term acute care hospitals had adopted at least a basic EHR system. In comparison, only:
- 6% of long-term acute care hospitals had adopted at least a basic EHR system;
- 4% of rehabilitation hospitals had adopted at least a basic EHR system; and
- 2% of psychiatric hospitals had adopted at least a basic EHR system.
The researchers concluded, "To advance the creation of nationwide health information technology infrastructure, federal and state policymakers should consider additional measures, such as adopting health information technology standards and EHR system certification criteria appropriate for these ineligible hospitals."
They also recommended that policymakers consider "low-interest loan programs for the acquisition and use of certified EHR systems by ineligible providers" (Health Affairs, March 2012; AHA News, 3/5).