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Report: Less than 1/5 of LTC communities had EHRs in 2010

September 12, 2013
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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In 2010, only 17 percent of the nation’s residential care communities used an electronic health record system, and far fewer of them were using it to capture longitudinal care data, according to a National Center for Health Statistics brief published Wednesday.

Not-for-profits were significantly ahead of for-profits in EHR adoption, as were LTC communities with more than 25 beds, those that offer multiple levels of long-term care in a single location, and those that are affiliated with a senior care provider chain, the brief noted.

Just because a LTC community can collect and store EHR data doesn’t mean that data can be exchanged with others in the care chain. In 2010, only 40 percent of those who had an EHR system could share data, with the most-utilized data exchange partner being a pharmacy.

Of those communities that had an EHR in 2010, at least 70 percent used it to capture resident demographic data, medication lists, allergies and other primary care information. About half used the EHR for assessment, medication administration and nurse documentation. But, less than 30 percent used the system to capture screening test orders, lab results or public health reporting.

Long-term care's growing pains in EHR adoption mirror the adoption cycle that hospitals experienced nearly a decade earlier. Acute care EHR adoption rates grew by 80 percent from 2009-2012, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, an increase due in part to the financial incentives and programs offered within the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.