How the states rank on EHR usage

The use of health information technology has increased over the past several years, in some states more than others. One of the tools seeing such an increase is the electronic health record (EHR). The Center for Data Innovation recently conducted a study that included the measure of the EHR adoption rate by physicians and healthcare facilities in the US. The result, The Best States for Data Innovation, published in July 2017, provides some interesting insight into the state-by-state rankings.

The top-ranked state for EHR usage in 2015 was Massachusetts, followed by Wyoming, Washington, Minnesota, and Indiana. Many factors contributed to these states being ranked in the top five for data innovation and EHR use.

The report explains that Massachusetts, as well as a number of other states that ranked near the top, “participated in a multistate working group on EHR interoperability, which promoted interoperability among state vendors.” In addition, in Wyoming “the Department of Health began offering a fully certified EHR platform to Medicaid providers at no cost in May 2012.”

At the bottom of the list are Vermont, Hawaii, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and finally, New Jersey. Only 75% of hospitals and 62% of physicians in New Jersey adopted EHRs.

Why do these rankings matter? What benefits do EHRs provide to physicians and healthcare facilities? The report ranks states by their innovation efforts, particularly by their adoption of EHRs, because “these technologies help ensure that a patient’s medical information is available at the point of care, and allow physicians to use decision-support systems to help reduce mistakes and improve quality of care.”

The Center for Data Innovation explains that their scoring “indicator is a composite score of two variables: the percent of all office-based physicians who have adopted a certified EHR and the percent of nonfederal acute care hospitals that have adopted basic electronic health record systems. The values for this variable are extracted directly from the source and then standardized. The standardized scores are weighted equally, then summed for a final score.”