Health Information Technology in the United States 2015

Transition to a Post-HITECH World

Significant policy changes and public investments have advanced the adoption of health information technology. However, more needs to be done to move the nation toward a truly interoperable health care system.

The Issue

In 2015, nine years after the first Health Information Technology in the United Sates report was released, a large percentage of acute care hospitals have at least a basic electronic health record (EHR) system. But many are not ready to meet Stage 2 meaningful use criteria—criteria that must be met in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid HER Incentive programs.

Key Findings

  • By 2014, 75.5 percent of hospitals had adopted at least a basic EHR, a substantial increase from 58.9 percent in 2013.

  • Seventy-six percent of hospitals reported exchanging data with outside health professionals in 2014, up from 62 percent in 2013 and 41 percent in 2008, the year the survey began including this measure.

  • Hospitals continue to face barriers toward adopting national standards enacted in 2009 to encourage technology investments and the development of health information exchanges.

Conclusion

The HITECH Act of 2009 encouraged technology investments and the development of local and regional health information exchanges for sharing of clinical data such as care records, discharge summaries, and test results. However, hospitals continue to face barriers toward adopting these standards—especially those pertaining to financial viability and sustainability.

About the Report

This report, the final in a series of 10, was produced by a team of researchers at Mathematica Policy Research and the Harvard School of Public Health with contributions from the University of Michigan, School of Information, and funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.