96% of US hospitals have EHRs, but barriers remain to interoperability, ONC says

Almost all hospitals and physician offices in the U.S. have successfully transitioned from paper-based medical records to electronic health records, according to a new report from the ONC. 

The report, released March 7, analyzed the impact of the 21st Century Cures Act and how it has contributed to continued progress toward interoperable access, exchange, and use of electronic health information. It found the following:

  • Almost all hospitals, ambulatory centers and physicians' offices are using health IT certified under the ONC Health IT Certification Program.

  • As of 2021, 96 percent of all non-federal acute care hospitals and nearly 4 in 5 office-based physicians have implemented a certified EHR system.

  • In the U.S., medium and large hospitals, non-critical access hospitals, and hospitals in suburban and urban areas have the greatest participation in health data exchanges.

  • Patient access to electronic portals for viewing health information and health applications is continuing to see expansion.

  • Barriers remain around the use of health IT systems that capture and use population data.

  • There are also barriers surrounding modernizing public health data systems, motivating the adoption of health IT and creating a uniform nationwide network interoperability across care continuums, according to the report.

  • Supporting health equity and advancing standards to support health information sharing across all care settings is still struggling as well. 

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