A small survey of 58 hospitals of all sizes shows they are not ready for meaningful use of electronic health records requirements.

Consulting and I.T. services firm Computer Sciences Corp. conducted the survey this past fall and released results on Jan. 4. The proposed rule for meaningful use requirements issued on Dec. 28 retains many expected provisions that were first recommended by federal advisory committees last summer.

Two-thirds of surveyed hospitals have identified gaps in their current systems to meet meaningful use requirements, according to Falls Church, Va.-based CSC. But only one-quarter met at least 70% of the readiness criteria within the survey. Hospitals generally had the highest scores for privacy and security and the lowest for use of required EHR capabilities.

For instance, 70% of surveyed hospitals have systems capable of supporting computerized physician order entry. But only 8% of respondents--all large hospitals--have CPOE throughout the facility with at least 75% of orders entered by physicians.

Fifty-four percent of surveyed hospitals have the latest version of their EHR software, which CSC says indicates upgrading to meet meaningful use requirements might be required. While 89% of respondents report on core quality measures, only half capture most required data from their EHR.

Only 40% of respondents reported clear and broad awareness of new civil and criminal penalties for privacy and security violations under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A full 98% have a policy in place to limit disclosure of protected information, but only 52% use encryption to render data improperly accessed unreadable or unusable.

Full survey results are available at csc.com/musurvey.

--Joseph Goedert

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