EHR Adoption Gaining Ground, but Challenges Remain: Report

eHEALTH BureauDespite advances in electronic health care initiatives over the past three years, health IT remains somewhat undervalued, according to National Progress Report on eHealth 2010, an eHealth Initiative report released recently. The report was supported by the Commonwealth Fund, a national, private foundation based in New York City that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy.Survey DetailsThe report includes a review of progress relative to strategies and actions to utilise health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE) to improve healthcare quality, safety and efficiency. This review was undertaken by over 100 experts representing the spectrum of health and health IT stakeholders.For its 2010 National Progress Report on eHealth, the eHealth Initiative conducted an online survey of more than 500 individuals at health care systems, hospitals and related organisations.The survey found that:

  • More than 60% of respondents said substantial progress had been made in health IT adoption over the past three years, partially as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act;
  • About 55% of respondents said they believed the value of health IT is not widely understood;
  • Approximately 66% of respondents acknowledged they were skeptical of the efficacy of outreach initiatives meant to educate consumers about the value of health IT and electronic health records; and
  • About 66% of participants said regional extension centers and the national Health IT Research Center would be essential in disseminating information to health care providers.

Literature ReviewAs part of the report, eHealth Initiative formed committees of health care stakeholders to review health IT research and identify trends. The committees concluded that:

  • Health care providers observe a lack of alignment across government health and health IT initiatives;
  • Metrics and programs to expedite health IT adoption could deter providers from participating;
  • Payment reforms and coding updates could inhibit health IT adoption;
  • Knowledge and transparency of health IT policies will be vital to building consumer trust; and
  • More consumer education and outreach initiatives will be required to bolster health IT adoption.

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