Hospitals and Physicians Struggling to Become Meaningfully Connected
Despite physicians' adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), an article on the American Medical Association website shows most are not “meaningfully” connected in a way that would allow them to share information from their EHRs with hospitals, payers, and other physicians. A survey conducted by the Black Book Rankings of Healthcare is highlighted in the article to show statistical data that proves the lack of meaningful connectivity among physicians.
To be considered “meaningfully connected,” hospitals should be able to engage in sustainable health information exchanges (HIE), which are regional networks that connect physicians, hospitals, and insurers. The data shows that 97 percent of physicians and 80 percent of hospitals are not utilizing HIEs, or they are “meaningfully unconnected.” From the AMA article, “The struggle comes even though 94 percent of those surveyed said private, community-based HIEs are the ‘preferred choice’ to ensure success under such models as accountable care organizations, in which practices can get bonuses for improving patients’ health while cutting costs. Meaningful use incentives from the federal government are meant to ensure that physicians have the capability of sharing information, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they actually are doing so.”
Electronic health records have experienced growth within the past few years; Black Book Rankings show 67 percent of all primary care physicians surveyed currently have a “basic EHR.” This number is up 15 percent since 2008.
The next step for the healthcare industry is to adopt health information exchanges that will fully integrate EHRs throughout the network to share with other hospitals, physicians, and insurers. Connecting through HIEs will improve processes in the industry by allowing data and records to be shared throughout a single network.
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