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Rise of EHR Adoption or Sudden Demise? Polls Often Conflict

Photo: reportinghealth.org

A slew of recent polls carry optimistic results for electronic health record adoption. Wait, scratch that. New survey results are disastrous for the health IT forecast.

Every day, it seems, a new headline trumpets the imminent success or the certain demise of health IT at the same time, leaving many feeling confused about the conflicting reports on “meaningful use” and what it all means.

Earlier this week, Nextgov, reporting on a new survey by Black Book rankings, which found that “a large majority” of healthcare providers do not expect to meet the government’s 2011 “meaningful use” guidelines.

According to that survey, about 90 percent of users are “off track” to meet the government’s goals.

But, just a few days later, InformationWeek reported on a National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey that saw across-the-board gains for EHR adoption.

Touting the 50 percent adoption threshold, the new survey, which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found 51 percent of healthcare providers had partially or fully adopted EHRs.

However, InformationWeek also reports on another report, this one by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which offered a less rosy portrait.

That report concludes that nearly 80 percent of doctors, usually in smaller, independent practices “lack even rudimentary digital records.”

So, what gives? Is it a matter of sampling error or asking the right (or wrong) questions. Or, perhaps the surveys aren’t even measuring the same factors, and this is all a case of confused-reporter error?

With EHR adoption, cognitive dissonance may be the one thing all the poll numbers can agree on.

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