Hospital Provision of Electronic Health Records for Physicians.

This interesting report appeared a few days ago.

Hospitals slow to subsidize physician EMRs, study says

Story posted: September 18, 2008 - 5:59 am EDT

Because of the burden of other ongoing hospital information technology projects, budget limitations and lack of physician interest, hospitals are not significantly taking advantage of the relaxation of federal physician self-referral and anti-kickback regulations to subsidize physician purchases of electronic medical-record systems, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded study released today by the Washington-based Center for Studying Health System Change.

In the study of 24 hospitals in 12 representative metropolitan areas, only seven reported pursuing a strategy to provide financial or other support for physicians to purchase EMRs, with four saying they had began implementing or had implementation scheduled in the near future. The other 17 hospitals were said to be in various stages of planning and evaluation with no action expected to be taken this year.


The two main factors identified for motivating hospitals to support physician EMR adoption were quality and efficiency improvement and "aligning physicians more closely with the hospital," the report said. "From a loyalty perspective, if you have physicians tied in where your labs and your X-rays (are located) and all those flow easily into their records, it will make it less likely they’ll take their business across the street," was a common sentiment, the report said.

Full report here:

The actual full report is also available online

Despite Regulatory Changes, Hospitals Cautious in Helping Physicians Purchase Electronic Medical Records

Issue Brief No. 123

September 2008

Joy M. Grossman, Genna Cohen

While hospitals are evaluating strategies to help physicians purchase electronic medical records (EMRs) following recent federal regulatory changes, they are proceeding cautiously, according to findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change’s (HSC) 2007 site visits to 12 nationally representative metropolitan communities. Hospital strategies to aid physician EMR adoption include offering direct financial subsidies, extending the hospital’s ambulatory EMR vendor discounts and providing technical support. Two key factors driving hospital interest in supporting physician EMR adoption are improving the quality and efficiency of care and aligning physicians more closely with the hospital. A few hospitals have begun small-scale, phased rollouts of subsidized EMRs, but the burden of other hospital information technology projects, budget limitations and lack of physician interest are among the factors impeding hospital action. While it is too early to assess whether the regulatory changes will spur greater physician EMR adoption, the outcome will depend both on hospitals’ willingness to provide support and physicians’ acceptance of hospital assistance.

Full report is here:

I find it interesting that there has not been more take up with the efforts the US legislature has taken to encourage EHR adoption. I suspect there may be a set of issues around the quality of systems funded and the risk of loss of independence that may be playing a part here.

It seems direct incentives for actual computer use, as we have done in Australia, is a better approach on the basis of these findings.



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