Clinical pathology laboratories will keep busy interfacing their LISs to these EMRs
Tis the season of electronic health records (EHR), now that both hospitals and physicians can qualify to earn incentives from the federal government when they implement these solutions and meet “meaningful use” criteria.
It is possible for individual hospitals to receive incentives totaling as much as $2 million for implementing a certified EHR. This is powerful motivation for cash-strapped hospitals. For that reason, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers of hospital laboratories can expect to be busy ensuring that their laboratory information system (LIS) interfaces properly with the EMR of their parent hospital.
It will be a huge undertaking. Early reports indicate that only a fraction of the nation’s 4,749 acute-care hospitals have implemented an EHR that meets the ARRA legislation’s “meaningful use” clause.
According to an August 2010 article published in Health Affairs titled “A Progress Report on Electronic Health Records in U.S. Hospitals,” though installation of basic EHR systems rose slightly from 8.7% in 2008 to 11.9% in 2009, only 2% of America’s hospitals have implemented an EHR that could accomplish meaningful use and qualify for the incentive funds.
Nevertheless, the number of installations is growing, and will probably accelerate, due to an increasing number of physicians using EHRs. Dark Daily recently reported on this trend in “Hospital and Physician Adoption of EHRs Will Accelerate Because of Federal Incentives.”
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the number of physicians using any type of EHR doubled between 2006 and 2010, and those using fully functional EHRs nearly tripled.
Ranking of Hospital EMR Installations by Vendor
The counts are based on systems installations between February 2010 and February 2011 that are:
• live and operating,
• in the process of being installed,
• contracted but not yet installed.
| Vendor Name
|Total Installations||Percent of Installations|
|• Epic Systems||413||8.7%|
|• Siemens Healthcare||397||8.4%|
|• Healthcare Management Systems||347||7.3%|
|• Eclipsys (Bought by Allscripts)||185||3.9%|
|The list is free and can be downloaded by clicking here.|
Medical laboratory administrators will find it interesting to note that just three healthcare IT companies control more than 50% of the hospital EMR market. Between them, Meditech, Cerner Corporation, and McKesson hold a collective 50.4% of hospital EMR installations, based on the HIMSS Analytics Database.
Of course, hospitals are not the only class of provider working to implement EMRs. Office-based physicians can qualify for federal incentives, and this year alone it is predicted that as many as 60,000 physicians will begin EMR implementations during 2011. This places a strain on the clinical laboratories and pathology groups that are asked to create interfaces between their LISs and the clients’ EMRs.