Survey: States lag behind private sector in EMR adoption

Published on Feb. 19, 2007 Government Health IT

Public-sector health care organizations participate in regional health information organizations (RHIOs) at twice the rate of private-sector organizations, but lag significantly when it comes to using electronic medical records (EMRs), according to a recent survey from Citrix Systems.

The survey, which involved 99 state health care executives and 347 private-sector health care information technology executives, was designed to determine the levels of current and planned EMR adoption and RHIO participation by private and public-sector organizations.

“What we found is that progress is being made and planning is being done, but there is an awful lot of work that has to be done if we are going to meet the 2014 federal mandate for EMR adoption,” said Dave Podwojski, director of State and Local Government, Education and Health Care Markets at Citrix.

Only 19 percent of state health executives reported using EMRs and only 16 percent said their state had set a timeline to achieve broad EMR use. In  contrast, 52 percent of private-sector health care information technology  executives said their organizations were already using EMRs and another 5 percent said they were hosting EMRs for others; 30 percent of private-sector organizations are still in the planning phase, but 37 percent of those expect to deploy EMRs in less than two years.

On the RHIO side, 43 percent of state health executives said their organization participates in a RHIO, compared with 20 percent of private-sector respondents. Podwojski said government’s natural tendency to collaborate and share with colleagues is helping drive the higher levels of RHIO participation.

Nevertheless, 70 percent of state health executives said private health care providers are playing a greater leadership role in RHIO development. The majority of public-sector executives would like to see states take a more active role in RHIO development, including providing a model framework, startup funding and access to technology via an Application Service Provider model.

Several impediments, including lack of budget, cultural resistance and technical difficulty, are slowing EMR adoption, the survey reported.

Private and public-sector health organizations also see more value in pursuing in-house solutions than using outsourced or service-based models. Given the cost and complexity involved in installing and maintaining such solutions, the trend is serving to impede greater EMR adoption, Podwojski said. “It’s definitely not the easiest way to go,” he said.


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