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New data show that although hospitals are using electronic methods to exchange summary of care records, they are still using paper.

A majority of hospitals last year used more than one electronic method to routinely send (78 percent) and receive (61 percent) summary of care records with outside healthcare organizations, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Nonetheless, while a majority of hospitals used more than one electronic method to send and receive summary of care records, most hospitals “still used both paper-based and electronic methods,” finds ONC’s new data brief.

The agency reports that about seven in 10 hospitals sent (66 percent) or received (73 percent) summary of care records using mail or fax in 2017.

ONC’s analysis, based on 2017 American Hospital Association Annual Survey–IT Supplement data, also revealed that small, rural and critical access hospitals were about half as likely to routinely send and receive summary of care records using only electronic methods, compared with their counterparts.

“Instead, they largely relied on paper-based methods to routinely send and receive summary of care records with outside organizations,” states the ONC data brief.

Also See: Small, rural and critical access hospitals lag in interoperability

In fact, about a quarter of small, rural and CAHs exclusively used non-electronic methods to receive summary of care records. These types of hospitals were three times as likely to send summary of care records using only non-electronic methods, and about twice as likely to receive summary of care records using only non-electronic methods compared to their counterparts.

“Understanding the methods used by healthcare organizations to enable exchange and their capacity to do so is important,” according to ONC. “It provides context for how and where policy development and investments can streamline the complexity of exchange and address barriers to interoperability.”


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