Studies Reveal Importance Of Incentives In Healthcare IT Adoption
The success of Massachusetts hospitals and
incorporate information technology (IT) into healthcare demonstrates
the importance of incentives, according to two studies conducted by CSC
and sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA).
The studies, "Adoption of Advanced Clinical
Massachusetts Hospitals" and "Adoption of Electronic Health Record
Capabilities in Massachusetts Physician Practices," examined the
progress Massachusetts hospitals and physician practices have made in
implementing advanced clinical IT systems. Analysis includes areas
where the state leads the nation and next steps toward improving
patient care through electronic access to information.
According to the reports, adoption of computerized
physician order entry (CPOE) among hospitals in Massachusetts is nearly
double the national average, and the use of e-prescribing is the
highest in the nation. In addition, more than one-third of ambulatory
physicians are using at least basic electronic health record (EHR)
capabilities, a rate more than two times the national average.
The studies show these statistics are the direct
of incentives. These include incentives from health plans, a campaign
by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to educate hospitals on
the value of new technologies and a state-mandated deadline to have
CPOE implementation in all hospitals within four years.
Some health plans wrote CPOE implementation
into hospital contracts; others provided free e-prescribing software to
physicians and offered incentives to encourage continued usage.
Partners Community Healthcare Inc., a network of
primary care providers and 3,500 specialists, set a deadline for use of
an EHR system as a condition for network participation.
"This data reveals that incentives are making a
difference," said Deward Watts, president of CSC’s global
healthcare sector. "While Massachusetts has a distinct advantage in
terms of support from the state government and stakeholder groups, this
successful model can be replicated nationwide to create a healthcare
infrastructure that significantly improves patient outcomes."
"The research clearly shows the progress that has
made in the state to increase adoption of clinical information
technology," said Greg LeGrow, director of e-Health Innovation for
BCBSMA. "We still have a ways to go, but the results are encouraging
and demonstrate the impact aligned efforts can have to further the use
of technology that improves the quality and affordability of care
Hospitals at varying levels of tech adoption The
hospital study gauges adoption and meaningful use of advanced clinical
systems, which include electronic CPOE with clinical decision support,
and electronic physician and nursing documentation systems.
The survey revealed that 18 percent of hospital
information officers and executives who responded claimed CPOE is "in
routine use," while another 33 percent reported that an implementation
is in progress, and 20 percent reported that it has been budgeted but
not yet implemented.
Massachusetts hospitals are also in various stages
implementing "next generation" clinical systems. One-third of hospitals
report using IT for infection management tracking. The state is
operating near the national average in electronic medication
reconciliation with 57 percent of hospitals accomplishing at least some
portion of this activity electronically.
Basic EHRs are in use by nearly half of
doctors. The physician study examines physicians’ use of
and advanced EHR capabilities.
Of those surveyed, 36 percent said they use all
EHR capabilities outlined in the survey, including electronic
medication and problem lists, and functionality to order prescriptions
electronically. Five percent claimed adoption of all "advanced" EHR
capabilities, including disease management and health maintenance
Close to three-fourths of physicians surveyed said
order prescriptions electronically for at least some of their patients,
while almost two-thirds regularly transmit prescriptions electronically
to pharmacies via fax or computer. The survey shows that these levels
reflect efforts by payers to provide physicians with e-prescribing
The surveys were conducted in the summer of 2008.
include responses from 519 physicians, or roughly 3 percent of the
physician population of Massachusetts, and 27 CIOs and hospital
executives representing 43 facilities, or approximately 60 percent of
the hospitals in the state.
Addresses: CSC, 3179 Fairview Park Drive, Falls
Church, VA 22042; (703) 876-1000, www.csc.com.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Landmark Center, 401 Park
Drive, Boston, MA 02215; (800) 262-2583, www.bluecrossma.com.