Study: Few hospitals offering subsidized EMRs

When HHS and the IRS both gave their OK to hospitals offering subsidized EMRs to their physicians, it was a big day. Hospitals had been waiting impatiently for the go-ahead for quite some time, and many implied that they were eager to move ahead. As it turns out, though, surprisingly few have moved forward with such programs, according to a new study from the Center for Studying Health System Change.

The study, which looked at 24 hospitals in 12 metro areas, found that hospitals were holding off because they weren't getting much interest from physicians, were investing their energy in other projects, or their budgets had little room to pay for such a subsidy. Of the 24 hospitals studied, only seven were developing a strategy for offering subsidies for EMR purchases, and only four had near-term plans to roll out such subsidies.

Researchers found that the most common subsidy approach was direct financial support to physicians with access to EMR discounts received by the hospital. Some hospitals, meanwhile, favored subsidizing EMRs for doctors less than the 85 percent maximum allowed--or using other strategies to force doctors to make a bigger financial commitment.

To learn more about this study:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)
- read this Center for Studying Health System Change issue brief

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HHS, IRS rules on EMR donations clash
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Non-profit hospitals offering EMRs to MDs, but cautiously

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