Use of electronic health records increasing in long term care

The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a data brief titled Electronic Health Record Adoption and Interoperability among U.S. Skilled Nursing Facilities in 2017. The brief examines the state of health IT use among home health agencies (HHAs) and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in 2017. Specifically, it presents key measures on electronic health record (EHR) adoption and interoperability from nationally representative surveys of SNFs and HHAs and describes  variations in interoperability and the extent to which these facilities have information electronically available at the point of care.

High level findings include:

  • More home health agencies (HHAs) (78 percent) adopted electronic health records (EHR) than skilled nursing facilities (SNF) (66 percent) in 2017.
  • The ability to integrate patient health information received from outside facilities lagged behind for both HHAs (36 percent) and SNFs (18 percent) compared to these facilities’ engagement in other domains of interoperability.
  • HHAs (32 percent) and SNFs (37 percent) most commonly used their EHR to exchange health information.
  • HHAs and SNFs that use three methods of exchange are more likely to have information electronically available.
  • Nearly 40 percent of HHAs used telehealth technology to keep track of patients’ health between in-person visits.