The federal subsidy program encouraging hospital adoption of electronic health records has been ineffective, argues a draft paper posted on the National Bureau of Economic Research's website.
Absent subsidy funds, the level of adoption of somewhat advanced EHRs in 2011 would have been matched in 2013, according to the paper distributed by the not-for-profit research organization. And, it elaborates, because the program gave out subsidy payments to early adopters that had already installed EHRs, it meant that $48 million in incentive dollars had to be given out for each new adoption.
The paper looks at the trend line of EHR adoption pre-2008 and extrapolates it to provide a baseline to compare to the eventual adoption with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which created the subsidy program in 2009. It also estimates the level of funds spent per new adoption by estimating the size of each hospital's incentive payment under HITECH.