Residential care communities lag in EHR adoption

Residential care communities--such as assisted living facilities and personal care homes--are yet another segment of the healthcare industry that lags behind in electronic health record adoption, according to a recent issue brief published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

A mere 17 percent of residential care communities (RCCs) used an EHR in 2010. The RCCs most likely to use such systems were larger, nonprofit chain-affiliated facilities that were co-located with another care setting and in a non-metropolitan statistical area.

The most common EHR functions used were medical provider information tracking, resident demographics, individual services plans and medication lists. Only 43 percent of RCCs using EHRs did so to aid in examining drug interactions, while 42 percent used EHRs to track orders for prescriptions.

The lack of EHR use could strike a blow against interoperability; of the RCCs that used EHRs, only 40 percent could support any data exchange with other providers. Only 23 percent had computerized support for exchanging electronic health information with pharmacies.  

EHR adoption has been less popular among provider groups who are ineligible for the Meaningful Use incentive program, such as behavioral and long-term care providers. This dichotomy could prove to be problematic as the Meaningful Use program and other initiatives--such as accountable care organizations--require data sharing among a continuum of care.

The brief did not indicate how these adoption rates may have changed since 2010.  

To learn more:
- read the issue brief