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Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Mar;31(3):505-13. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0351.

Hospitals ineligible for federal meaningful-use incentives have dismally low rates of adoption of electronic health records.

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  • 1Kindred Healthcare, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


The US government has dedicated substantial resources to help certain providers, such as short-term acute care hospitals and physicians, adopt and meaningfully use electronic health record (EHR) systems. We used national data to determine adoption rates of EHR systems among all types of inpatient providers that were ineligible for these same federal meaningful-use incentives: long-term acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, and psychiatric hospitals. Adoption rates for these institutions were dismally low: less than half of the rate among short-term acute care hospitals. Specifically, 12 percent of short-term acute care hospitals have at least a basic EHR system, compared with 6 percent of long-term acute care hospitals, 4 percent of rehabilitation hospitals, and 2 percent of psychiatric hospitals. To advance the creation of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure, federal and state policy makers should consider additional measures, such as adopting health information technology standards and EHR system certification criteria appropriate for these ineligible hospitals; including such hospitals in state health information exchange programs; and establishing low-interest loan programs for the acquisition and use of certified EHR systems by ineligible providers.

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