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Health Information Technology in the United States, 2009: On the Cusp of Change

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Abstract:

Health information technology (HIT) has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of health care. In our two previous reports about HIT in the United States we detailed the challenges faced by policy-makers working toward the goal of increased adoption of electronic health records. Since that time the role of health information technology in promoting higher quality, more efficient health care has taken a central position in the current health care reform debate. There is broad bipartisan support to speed health information technology adoption, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has made promoting a national interoperable health information system a priority, authorizing significant resources to achieve this goal.

This report builds on our previous work, initiated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) in 2007, to design and deploy standardized measures of electronic health record (EHR) adoption in a national hospital survey. This report, like its predecessors, is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which has a longstanding commitment to understanding and improving the quality of American health care. This commitment includes a multitude of efforts designed to address all dimensions of the quality problem, including inequities in care. RWJF has supported this report in order to share the lessons of the ONCHIT work more broadly and review what is known about the state of EHR adoption and its implications for improving health care quality.