July 12, 2013


Dodging the Digital Divide

Rich Umbdenstock, AHA President and CEO

The promise of better information in improving patient care is tantalizing, and the progress hospitals have made in obtaining it is encouraging. According to this year’s Hospitals & Health Networks Most Wired survey, 60% of all surveyed hospitals report that medication orders are entered electronically by physicians, up from 12% of all hospitals in 2004. A Health Affairs report using AHA data, finds that 44% of hospitals had at least basic electronic health records last year, almost three times as many as in 2010. But the huge financial, technical and human investments required are an immense challenge for many hospitals, especially small and rural ones. As the “meaningful use” program moves from providing positive incentives to imposing financial penalties, the digital divide could widen. The AHA will continue to advocate for reasonable Stage 2 meaningful use criteria and timetable.

Thanks,
Rich

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