Skilled nursing facilities increase utilization of EHRs

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Utilization of electronic health records (EHRs) has increased in the past year, according to a report conducted by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

The survey of 813 SNFs outlined rates of EHR utilization, interoperability and variations of EHR adoption.

“SNF patients may have complex chronic care needs that result in frequent transitions between their homes, acute, post acute, and long-term care settings,” stated the report. “Patient care coordination and continuity of care are paramount in this setting where transitions of care are common. Thus, EHR adoption and interoperability of SNFs’ health information systems are critical to facilitating transitions of care.”

Finding of the survey included:

  • 64 percent of SNFs used EHRs in 2016.
  • 18 percent used both an EHR system and a state or regional health information organization (HIO).
  • 46 percent of SNFs only used an EHR.
  • 30 percent of SNF exchanged clinical health information electronically.
  • SNFs that used an EHR and HIO exchanged and integrated patient health information at higher rates than those only using EHR.
  • 62 percent of SNFs had electronic information available from outside sources at the point of care.
  • 9 percent of SNFs reported their staff was able to easily integrate patient health information into their EHR.

“EHR adoption rates among SNFs lag compared to acute care settings as do rates of engagement in the different interoperability domains. Consistent with hospitals and office-based physicians, SNFs are more likely to electronically send and receive patient health information than to find and integrate electronic health information,” wrote the report. “The EHR adoption lag in SNFs may be in part due to their ineligibility to receive financial incentives to adopt and use EHRs under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs”