Hospitals Still Faxing and Mailing Patient Records

December 21, 2018 | Eric D. Fader | Electronic Health Records | Hospitals | Medicare and Medicaid

A recent study by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology revealed that most hospitals were still transmitting at least some patient medical records by mail or fax in 2017. The data showed that industry-wide electronic interoperability remains a distant goal.

According to the study, 66% of the hospitals surveyed sometimes sent patient records using mail or fax, and 73% received records using those outdated means. Most of the hospitals did sometimes transmit records electronically, including via multi-electronic health record (EHR) vendor networks, e-Health Exchange, and/or interface connections between EHR systems, but nearly a quarter of hospitals are not sending or receiving records electronically at all.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and most industry stakeholders have recognized that adopting electronic methods for data exchange is essential to improve care coordination. Small, rural and critical access hospitals are lagging in adoption compared to larger health systems.

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