More Stage 2 hospitals reporting to public health agencies, registries

Hospitals in Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program have substantially increased their electronic reporting of public health measures to public health agencies and registries, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's latest data brief.

The brief, released March 10, noted that in Stage 1 of the program it was optional for hospitals to attest to one such public health measure, while Stage 2 requires hospitals to report on all three public health measures. Perhaps not surprisingly, there was a big jump in electronic reporting for those hospitals attesting to Stage 2 in 2014. For instance, while nationally 48 percent of hospitals that provide urgent care electronically reported syndromic surveillance to their local public health agency, for Stage 2 hospitals, the number jumped to 75 percent.

Likewise, while less than one half of hospitals could submit reportable lab results to local public health agencies, 85 percent of the Stage 2 hospitals could do so.   

"[T]he data presented in this brief demonstrate a significant difference in hospital reporting trends when reporting is optional, as in Stage 1, to when reporting is required, as in Stage 2," the brief stated. "While almost three-quarters of Stage 2 hospitals reported, without exclusion, on all applicable public health measures, only 5 percent of Stage 1 hospitals did the same. Similar rate disparities were observed across all three public health measures. As more hospitals shift to stage 2 in coming years, it can be expected that electronic exchange between hospitals and public health agencies may increase."

The brief also acknowledged that reporting public health measures varied among states, in part because not all public health agencies and registries were able to electronically accept the data.

Electronic reporting to public health agencies and registries is an important way to identify disease outbreaks, trends and other information. Improved public health reporting both to and from providers and the agencies would make the databases more accurate and the information more useful and effective.

To learn more:
- read the data brief (.pdf)