USA Hospitals Extremely Slow to Adopt Electronic Health Records, Citing Cost

Money Targeted for Health Technology In Stimulus Package May Help, but Widespread Adoption a Long Way Away

Harvard School of Public Health – Boston, MA – There is broad consensus that electronic health records (EHR) have the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare providers. Yet, to date, there has been no reliable estimate of the prevalence of EHR use among U.S. hospitals. In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Massachusetts General Hospital and George Washington University found that less than 2% of surveyed hospitals had implemented comprehensive EHR; further, less than 8% had basic EHR in place. It is the first nationally representative study of the prevalence of EHR in hospitals.

The findings are significant as Congress and the Obama administration targeted $19 billion in the federal stimulus package for improving adoption of health information technology such as electronic health records. Many policy makers hope that the money will help doctors and hospitals adopt electronic records, which should help improve the quality and efficiency of the healthcare system. For the full story see Harvard School of Public Health