Electronic Health Records (EHR) Adoption In U.S. Hospitals As Of 2015

While 2016 is around the corner with federal governments, insurance companies and other large medical institutions continuing to heavily promote the EHR adoption, the process is barely meeting expectations of 2013, according to the 2009 eHealthcare agenda as part of the ARRA and HITECH Act.

The U.S. hospitals were promised that integrating EHR management as part of RCM systems would realize tremendous gains in financial performance by optimizing revenue streams directly at the point of care, maximizing and speeding up reimbursement, minimizing denials and streamlining the collection process states that more than 480,000 healthcare providers received payment for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs in 2015.

Yet unrealistic and uncoordinated requirements for EHR development and implementation come with an enormous price tag for hospitals. Almost more than half of the physicians who bill Medicare in the U.S. are currently being penalized 1% of their 2015 payments as a result of the meaningful use program, according to Steven J. Stack, MD, president of the American Medical Association. Even under the more lenient MU2 rule, 257,000 providers are already getting pay cuts. Many more will fail MU3 stage, according to Forbes. Productivity drop (up to 30%) and patients’ growing complaints about the inappropriate use of their medical records are mentioned in the majority of comments. Workarounds like hiring full-time scribers or switching to solo practice continue to be the most popular practices among nearly 80% of physicians.

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On Dec 11th 2015, AMA published a document titled "How EHRs tied up physician time in 2015" and here’re some of the key highlights of the document:

EHR development teams produce unsatisfactory platforms that are not worth the investments they get

In summer 2015, AmericanEHR Partners released survey results revealing most of U.S. physicians feel EHR investments have failed to offer substantial returns due to impractical technology that fails to meet EHR User-Centered Design Evaluation Framework standards.

Meaningful use is far from being useful

After the Stage 3 requirements were finalized in October 2015, AMA is concerned with healthcare facilities that will not meet the requirements. This concern is supported by the fact that only about 12% of physicians and other eligible professionals attested to Stage 2 of meaningful use of EHRs in 2014.

Physicians receive positive feedback on their requests both from government and Health IT vendors

Every fourth of the surveyed physicians plans to entirely opt out of the government programs, while another 29% are not completely sure and might either return to paper records or continue to use EHRs.

So, keeping the bigger picture in mind, experts are pretty optimistic about EHR adoption in 2016, expecting it to maintain the dynamics of the previous year. One of the biggest challenges is to gather EHR developers and physicians in one room to discuss platforms’ functionality and usability issues. Health IT giants like Epic, Siemens and Allscripts are pretty open-minded about the customization opportunities. Deeper involvement into EHR software development process will bring both sides – doctors and patients – better experience in electronic health data exchange.

And what's your forecast for EHR adoption across the United States in 2016?

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