Progress toward meaningful use: hospitals' adoption of electronic health records

Am J Manag Care. 2011 Dec;17(12 Spec No.):SP117-24.


Objectives: To update the status of electronic health record (EHR) adoption in US hospitals and assess their readiness for "Meaningful Use" (MU).

Study design: We used data from the 2010 American Hospital Association Annual Information Technology Survey. The survey was first conducted in 2007 and is made available both online and through the mail to all non-federal acute-care hospitals in the United States.

Methods: We measure the percentages of applicable hospitals that have adopted "basic" and "comprehensive" EHRs as defined in previous literature. Additionally, we report the percentage of hospitals planning to apply for MU in the near term, and assess hospitals' readiness for the program and how readiness varies by key characteristics.

Results: We received responses from 2902 hospitals (64% of all non-federal acute-care hospitals). More than 15% have adopted at least a "basic" EHR, representing nearly 75% growth since 2008. Approximately two-thirds plan to apply for MU before 2013; however, only 4.4% had implemented each of the "core" MU functionalities we measured. Hospitals closer to achieving MU are more likely to be larger non-profits (P <.001) and vary by other key characteristics. Certain functionalities included in MU, such as computerized provider order entry, electronic generation of quality measures, and electronic access to records for patients are proving more challenging to implement for all hospitals.

Conclusions: Broad enthusiasm exists among hospitals for participation in MU. However, adoption will have to accelerate above its current pace for readiness to match intention. Gaps in adoption show bringing all hospitals along is the key policy challenge.

MeSH terms

  • American Hospital Association
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Efficiency*
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Electronic Health Records / instrumentation*
  • Electronic Health Records / organization & administration
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Quality of Health Care / standards
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • United States