Skilled Nursing Facilities Lag Acute Care Settings in EHR, HIE Use

Greg Slabodkin | Health Data Management | September 11, 2017

The first nationally representative survey on electronic health record adoption and health information exchange among skilled nursing facilities has found that they are lagging behind acute care settings. While data released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT shows that most SNFs (64 percent) used EHRs to manage patient health information last year and a fifth of facilities (18 percent) used both an EHR and a state or regional health information organization (HIO), a HIT gap persists with their acute care counterparts.

“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,” states ONC’s data brief. “Researchers have identified barriers to EHR adoption across long-term and post-acute care settings, the most salient of which is the initial cost of EHR adoption, followed by user perceptions and implementation problems, among others.”

Nonetheless, despite these barriers, ONC points out that EHR adoption among SNFs is higher than those of other long-term and post-acute care service providers such as adult day service centers...At the same time, ONC suggests that the ability of SNFs to send, receive, find and integrate patient health information—the four domains of interoperability—varied by organization category...