Health Information Technology in the United States 2013

Federal financial incentives have driven providers (38.2%) to adopt health information technology.

Seven years after their inaugural report on health information technology (HIT), researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Mathematica Policy Research, and Harvard School of Public Health find that providers increasingly have adopted HIT in meaningful ways, driven in the last few years by federal financial incentives.

Since 2010, the proportion of hospitals having a basic electronic health record (EHR) has tripled.

  • More than 38 percent of physicians report having adopted basic EHRs in 2012.
  • 42 percent have implemented systems that meet federal Meaningful Use Stage 1 criteria, up from 4.4 percent in 2010. Hospitals most likely to meet more stringent Stage 2 criteria were larger, teaching, private nonprofit hospitals in urban areas.
  • Hospitals were more likely to implement EHR functions to record patient demographics, vital signs, and smoking status than they were functions for electronically submitted lab reports, health surveillance data, summary records for patient transitions between care settings, and functionalities for patient use.

U.S. providers could do more using HIT to engage patients with educational materials tailored to an individual’s diagnosis and health literacy level.


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