Electronic Health Record Adoption by Children's Hospitals in the United States

Few children’s hospitals have comprehensive electronic health records (EHRs); basic systems are more common.

A majority of hospitalized children have chronic diseases; treating chronic conditions requires information management and decision-making tools. This study examined the use of electronic health records (EHRs) in children’s hospitals.

This federally-funded national survey evaluated the prevalence of comprehensive EHRs and those designed for specific functions (e.g., computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and decision support) in children’s hospitals; 108 institutions responded. The survey asked about 32 potential clinical functions of an EHR system. In addition to reporting data from the survey, this article discusses participation in health information exchange (HIE) and common obstacles to using EHRs.

Key Findings:

  • Electronic radiology reports and images are nearly universal.
  • Drug allergy alerts, drug-drug interaction alerts and electronic medication lists are common in roughly 60 percent of all hospital units.
  • Few hospitals have CPOE for medications and decision support.

Children’s hospitals treat one-third of pediatric inpatients. This federally-funded study found that although comprehensive EHRs are uncommon, some children’s hospitals have adopted basic EHRs; children’s hospitals are adopting EHRs at a higher rate than adult hospitals.