The U.S. health care system is in the midst of an enormous change.
Part of this transition involves a wholesale, but currently uneven, shift from paper-based records to electronic health record (EHR) systems.
The researchers used the most recent longitudinal survey of U.S. hospitals to track how they are adopting and using EHR systems. Only 44 percent of hospitals report having and using what they define as at least a basic EHR system. And although 42.2 percent meet all of the federal stage 1 “meaningful-use” criteria, only 5.1 percent could meet the broader set of stage 2 criteria.
Large urban hospitals continue to outpace rural and nonteaching hospitals in adopting EHR systems. The increase in adoption overall suggests that the positive and negative financial incentives currently in place across the U.S. health care system are working as intended. However, achieving a nationwide health information technology infrastructure may require efforts targeted at smaller and rural hospitals.