ONC Beacon Program Highlights EHR Adoption, Use Challenges

Sara Heath | EHR Intelligence | February 10, 2016

A research program out of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC) offers insights into how communities use health IT and EHR adoption to achieve the triple aim of better care, better costs, and overall better patient health. Launched in 2010, the Beacon Community Program provided $250 million in grants to each of 17 communities to examine how these communities adopt EHRs and other health IT to better their overall healthcare structure.

In an after-the-fact analysis of the program, NORC at the University of Chicago found that many of these communities faced similar challenges that other healthcare systems face when adopting their health IT. Between technology, provider engagement and buy-in, and legal and policy barriers, these Beacon Programs painted a fairly accurate picture of the struggles of health IT adoption across the entire nation.

NORC found that overall, most of the hospitals in each Beacon Community faced typical technological issues, including interoperability and infrastructure issues. Smaller providers were hit particularly hard, especially financially. The healthcare industry as of present tells a similar story, with smaller providers lagging slightly in EHR adoption and often struggling to implement best strategies...