With incentives guaranteed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for meeting meaningful use requirements, managers of medical facilities have become more concerned with adopting electronic medical records (EMR) software and other health IT products.
It seems that large medical practices and hospitals are more likely to gain these incentives than smaller healthcare facilities, as previous surveys have shown greater health IT use among large medical centers.
InformationWeek Healthcare reports on a new study - "Small, Nonteaching, And Rural Hospitals Continue To Be Slow In Adopting Electronic Health Record Systems" - that shows a widening gap between large and small practices in the adoption of EMR software and other health IT systems. In 2011, the divide between small and large hospitals grew to 22 percent.
The study surveyed 3,233 hospitals and used previous results of EMR adoption between the years 2008 and 2011. The researchers also looked at hospitals with an all-encompassing electronic health system and those that met the requirements of meaningful use.
"The research suggests that as providers work to meet MU [meaningful use] stage two, which requires more clinical reporting and an infrastructure to accommodate the exchange of greater amounts of clinical data, the situation might only get worse," the source said. "The fear is that smaller hospitals, which have limited financial resources, fewer IT workers, and an inadequate health IT infrastructure, will not be able to compete with larger hospital systems for the attention of EHR vendors."
Small medical providers that wish to meet meaningful use requirements would be wise to partner with a physician consultant who has wide experience in healthcare IT consulting and certified EMR technology.