Monday, June 27, 2011

Ninety percent of Missouri hospitals now have E-records

A growing number of Missouri hospitals are using electronic health records. The Missouri Hospital Association recently assessed the electronic capabilities of 145 hospitals in the state, using both internal and state-health data.

The group found that 90 percent of hospitals now have some sort of electronic system in place, up six percent from last year.

Dave Dillon, with the Hospital Association, says at a minimum, those hospitals are able to electronically collect certain health information about patients. But he says really effective electronic systems are able to integrate their records with those of neighboring doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

“And those are probably the biggest challenges because of the history of everyone having own records, maybe not using common platforms and just the fragmented system we’ve operated under historically,” Dillon says.

Dillon says implementing such electronic systems can also be expensive, especially for smaller hospitals. But he says new federal and state incentive programs, clearer HHS guidelines for how systems should be designed, and reduced Medicare reimbursements to places which aren’t electronic in the future, are bringing more hospitals on board.

Already, about one fifth of Missouri hospitals now have advanced electronic systems in place.

Elana Gordon, KCUR


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