Kentucky doctors’ offices are the least digitized in the country; increase expected nationwide

Kentucky has the lowest percentage of doctors’ offices who have adopted electronic health record systems, says a survey released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Just 38.1 percent of Kentucky health clinics are digitized, compared to 51 percent nationwide. Louisiana (39.1 percent) and Florida (39.4 percent) were second and third lowest, respectively. Minnesota tops the list, with 80.2 percent of its offices paperless, followed by Massachusetts (77.3 percent) and Wisconsin (75.4 percent). The survey data were compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Those numbers are expected to grow nationwide. Hospitals and physicians can now register for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs, which give federal funds to facilities that have adopted EHRs. Kentucky physicians and hospitals are among the first nationwide to be eligible to receive incentives from both programs. University of Kentucky HealthCare and Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington were the first hospital systems in the country to receive funds — which totaled $4.1 million — from the incentive programs. Another 25 Kentucky providers have started the application process.
Interest in EHR systems, which are believed to improve the quality of health care and patient outcomes, is growing nationwide. A survey by the American Hospital Association found that 81 percent of the nation’s hospitals plan to take advantage of the incentive programs. NCHS numbers showed 41 percent of office-based physicians are planning to do the same. (Read more)
The changeover is expected to create a substantial surge in EHR software technology. World Market Media reports the market for electronic health record software is expected to reach $3.8 billion by 2015. (Read more)
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