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Am J Manag Care. 2013 Jul 1;19(7):e273-84.

Early results from the hospital Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs.

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  • 1School of Information, University of Michigan, 4376 North Quad, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.



To assess the level of hospital participation in the first 18 months of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, and to identify whether vulnerable hospitals lag behind.


Retrospective study of participation among the 4938 Medicare-certified hospitals from the beginning of the incentive payment period (June 2011) through December 2012.


We used multivariate models to examine which types of hospitals qualified for financial incentives either through attesting to meaningful use of EHRs or by meeting the "Adopt-Implement-Upgrade" (AIU) option that requires demonstrating progress toward achieving meaningful use. We focused on small, Critical Access, and safety-net hospitals.


We found that more than 75% of all eligible US hospitals have qualified for financial incentives in the first 18 months of the program. Nearly two-thirds of these hospitals (52% of all hospitals) attested to meaningful use while the remaining one-third (24% of all hospitals) were paid under the AIU option only. Small hospitals were less likely than large hospitals to qualify for incentive payments (odds ratio [OR] = 0.49, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36-0.68; P < .001 across categories). Critical Access hospitals also had lower odds of incentive payment (OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.57-0.84, P < .001). Safety-net hospitals were more likely to qualify for payments overall (OR = 2.51; 95% CI 1.92-3.38, P < .001), but did so primarily through AIU.


There is broad participation in the federally led incentive program to promote nationwide EHR uptake. Lower rates of participation among smaller hospitals and Critical Access hospitals merit close monitoring to ensure that broad adoption is achieved.

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