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HIMSS Analytics: Data Show that Meaningful Use is Affecting EHR Adoption

CHICAGO - A new analysis of HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAMSM) scale reveals that in the five most recent quarters for which data is available, beginning with the first incentive payments from the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Program in 2011, U.S. acute care hospitals achieving EMRAM Stage 5 or Stage 6 have increased by more than 80 percent; Stage 7 has increased 63 percent. Hospitals at Stages 0, 1, 2, and 3 have seen decreases of at least 10 percent.  (See graph, below.)

The HIMSS Analytics EMRAM scale is recognized as the standard to measure acute care hospitals’ adoption of health information technology (IT). 
“This data suggests that the HITECH portion of the 2009 stimulus law is achieving its intended result of encouraging increased implementation and meaningful use of electronic health records among hospitals,” said John Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President of HIMSS Analytics.  “Hospitals are lag indicators of economic conditions. This information indicates that despite the recession, hospitals are continuing to see the value of investing in health IT to improve the quality, safety and effectiveness of patient care.”

During the same time period, very few hospitals in Canada have moved up the EMRAM scale.  Canada does not have an equivalent stimulus program.

“Facilities moving to the upper stages of EMRAM are laying the groundwork for interoperability to occur,” explained Hoyt.  “Stage 6 and Stage 7 hospitals are fully prepared for provider-to-provider or facility-to-facility interoperability, as well as increasing the provider or facility’s ability to provide electronic health data reporting to public health and immunization registries to support population health review and syndromic surveillance.”

As of November 30, 2012, more than 340,000 eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs), and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) had registered for the EHR Incentive Program; 176,561 providers have already received checks totaling $9.3 billion in incentive payments for meeting Stage 1 of meaningful use. 
Updated data to reflect the quarter ending December, 2012 will be released later this month and is expected to show even greater EHR implementation rates. 

This graph shows sharp increases in the percentage of U.S. civilian hospitals achieving HIMSS Analytics’ EMRAM Stages  5-6-7 beginning with the first Medicare meaningful use incentive payments in 2011, through September 2012. During the same time period, the percentage of hospitals in Stages 0-1-2 showed significant declines.  These statistics suggest increased implementation of electronic health records over the past five quarters. For more information visit

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