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AHA: IT use in hospitals continues to grow
According to the American Hospital Association's (AHA) second annual survey of hospital health IT use, hospitals continue to accelerate their use of health information technology, with 68% reporting that electronic health records had been fully or partially implemented as of fall 2006.
Cost continues to be the greatest barrier to greater adoption of health IT, with urban hospitals, teaching hospitals and larger hospitals more likely to afford the investment, the survey found. While recent Department of Health and Human Services rules have lessened obstacles posed by the physician self-referral and anti-kickback laws, hospitals have been concerned that, under Internal Revenue Services rules, helping physicians access and use health IT could impact hospitals' tax-exempt status.
The AHA recently met with the IRS to ask the agency to confirm that following the new HHS rules would not jeopardize hospitals' tax-exempt status, and the organization reports that the IRS' initial response was positive. The agency said it understands hospitals' role in facilitating EHR implementation and is willing to move quickly to provide a formal response about the issue.