Physician Adoption of EHRs Accelerates, but Rural Providers Slow to Embrace EHRs

Adoption of EHR systems by small practices, small hospitals, and rural health providers lags behind the pace of urban-based hospitals and physician groups

As larger numbers of physicians implement electronic health record (EHR) systems, clinical laboratories are faced with the task of building interfaces that connect their laboratory information systems (LIS) to those EHRs.

Recent numbers indicate that hundreds of thousands of physicians are now enrolled in the federal EHR incentive program. This puts medical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups squarely in the midst of the drive to encourage physicians to both implement an EHR in their clinical practice and use that EHR in ways that meet “Meaningful Use” requirements.

Some 225,765 providers are participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report that almost $4.5 billion in financial incentives have been paid to hospitals and physicians for implementation of electronic health record (EHR).