Latest report on EHR adoption and interoperability was released by Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Information that was collected from non-federal acute care hospitals displays increase in both adoption and interoperability.
The report says that around 82 percent 0f hospitals shared health information such as lab results with external providers. It is a marginal increase from 76 percent in 2014 and 62 percent in 2013. The study states that 96 percent of hospitals in U.S. have certified EHR technology (CEHRT), where 80 percent of Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), in spite of having low financial and technological resources, are using basic EHR.
Even though the rate of usage of EHR in hospitals has increased, their interoperability has not increased to the expected level. Though the rate at which hospitals electronically send, receive, and find health care information had grown, the number of hospitals integrating data has reduced.
From 2014 to 2015, the percentage of hospitals finding health information increased from 48 to 52 percent, sending this information increased from 78 to 85 percent, receiving increased from 56 to 65 percent, but integrating decreased from 40 to 38 percent.
It is noted that nearly half of the providers are not using the data adequately. Where 18 percent often use the data, 20 percent rarely use the data, and 16 percent never use the data. Some non-technical problems faced are bulky workflow, useless data delivered, lack of willingness to share, etc. The major technical problems faced in exchanging health care reports include:
- Incompatibility of EHR system of the hospital and exchange partner
- Finding providers address may be hard
- Other difficulties like high fees for exchange information and lack of certified EHR system of the exchange partner
A full-scale EHR interoperability in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was planned by the Congress by 2018. However, the plan may not turn to reality if the progress is going this slow. Significant progress is needed in this field with increase in health care information sharing and availability of correct data.