Long-term care facilities lag behind on EHR adoption

Although EHR adoption is widespread in the U.S., long-term care facilities lag behind the national average.

A survey of 472 nursing homes in New York published in the American Journal of Managed Care found that 56.3 percent had implemented an EHR compared to the national average of more than 90 percent. While this percentage was higher than in past years, participation in HIEs remained unchanged. The majority of nursing homes indicated the biggest barriers to health IT investment were the initial cost, a lack of IT staff and the lack of fiscal incentives, according to the study. Nursing homes are not eligible for EHR incentives.

The survey took place from February to May 2013. Among the nursing homes which did not have EHRs, the majority had plans to implement one within two years. One-fifth had plans to implement one in more than two years, and 11.7 percent had no EHR implementation plans, according to the study.

"HIT adoption by nursing homes appears to be lagging compared with other healthcare sectors in which federal policies are incentivizing adoption," the authors wrote. "To ensure that nursing homes keep pace with the rest of healthcare, it seems critical that public policy should specifically focus on helping nursing homes overcome barriers to EHR adoption and encourage broad participation in HIEs."

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