EHR adoption model launched by HIMSS for ambulatory practices

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The Healthcare Management and Information Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics has launched a new electronic medical record (EMR) adoption model aimed at ambulatory practices, reports Healthcare IT News.

HIMSS Analytics’ Ambulatory EHR Adoption Model (A-EMRAM) tracks the healthcare IT adoption projects of more than 28,000 practices in the HIMSS Analytics database of providers. Speciality clinics, physician practices and outpatient care centers belonging to larger health systems will all be monitored using the repository.

Officials at HIMSS Analytics realized a dedicated EMRAM was needed for ambulatory facilities, as such practices account for more than 26 percent of the U.S. healthcare system’s overall annual expenditures. The new model is based on HIMSS’ hospital-centric EMRAM, which was developed in 2005.

The adoption model uses a grade system based on how healthcare facilities are using healthcare IT such as medical informatics networks. There are eight stages in total, with step zero indicating a facility still uses paper-based medical records, and stage seven awarded to care environments that have migrated to a fully digital practice.

“We want to identify the vital health IT systems and best practices around the use of those systems, while at the same time provide industry research to help guide ambulatory facilities as they strive to adopt health IT systems that improve outcomes and patient convenience,” said John Hoyt, executive vice president of HIMSS Analytics, as quoted by the news source.

According to IDC Health Insights, although overall medical informatics adoption is expected to increase significantly by 2016, ambulatory practices are still underserved by many of the mainstream solutions available.

Judy Hanover, research director at IDC, said that while meaningful use payments are something that ambulatory care facilities should be working toward, financial incentive programs should not form the sole basis for choosing to implement a medical informatics solution.