International EHR use lags behind U.S.

Although there is a growing interest globally in adopting electronic health records, relatively few hospitals in other countries are using them; and those that are tend to use basic, not advanced systems, according to a new study published by KLAS research.

"Few countries are doing advanced [electronic patient record] adoption, as most face economic and governmental challenges that push EPR adoption to a lower priority," the study's authors said.

The researchers noted that the most growth is in countries, like the United States and the U.K., where government healthcare initiatives have encouraged EHR adoption.

"It's still an upcoming market. ... We keep being surprised by what we find," report author Doug Tolley said, according to an announcement. "There are only about 3,000 hospitals outside the U.S. with an EPR from a commercial vendor. Without the kind of government incentives that exist in the U.S., it's been a slower build for most countries."

Areas in Asia and the Middle East are also showing some market energy, according to the report. 

The study additionally revealed that few countries outside of the United States are adopting advanced EHRs. While 65 U.S. hospitals have attained the most advanced or "deep" use of EHRs--Stage 7 on HIMSS' rating scale--only two hospitals outside of the U.S. have done so--one in South Korea and one in Germany.

Although the study didn't address the comparative costs of EHR adoption, the type of health delivery system and the decision-making behind where to spend money on health IT may also be a factor for non-U.S. hospitals in determining when and what kind of system to implement.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- buy the report
- learn about HIMSS' rating scales on 'advanced'  use of EHRs