EHR adoption encountering unexpected hiccups in California

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Electronic health record use is steadily growing in California, but the state lags behind others in some unanticipated ways, according to a new report from the California Healthcare Foundation.

The 37-page report reveals that physician use of EHRs increased from 37 percent in 2008 to more than half (59 percent) in 2013. Half of the state's hospitals used EHRs in 2012, up from a scant 13 percent in 2007, and use of the systems by community health centers soared from three percent in 2005 to 65 percent in 2011. 

However, while 58 percent of physicians stated in 2012 that they planned to participate in the Meaningful Use program, only 30 percent of doctors with EHRs had one that met the 12 objectives of the program.  

Moreover, while the number of physicians and pharmacies using e-prescribing continued to rise, the state ranks 49th in the nation for e-prescribing. Hospitals' use of clinical support systems was down from 77 percent in 2010 to 71 percent in 2012. The national average is 97 percent.

On the consumer side, access to online communication is increasing, but is not keeping up with consumer interest. Patients are most interested in viewing their electronic records, emailing physicians and receiving electronic appointment reminders.

The report does not speculate the reasons behind the inconsistent statistics.  

The report is similar to other recent reports showing that EHR adoption varies throughout the nation, and that EHR use lags behind successful Meaningful Use attestation, which ultimately can lead to care disparities.   

To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)
- check out this accompanying infographic (.pdf)

Related Articles:
CMS: Community health centers lag behind in MU attestation
Meaningful Use progress 'uneven' for hospitals
Meaningful Use may unintentionally increase care disparities
Significant variation in first time MU attesters