The state of Wyoming has a low adoption rate for EHR systems: According to an ONC data brief from February 2012, the state’s non-federal acute care hospitals reported an EHR adoption rate of 21%, compared to a national average of 34%.
To help increase that percentage, the Wyoming Department of Health has partnered with Medical Informatics Engineering to offer a free, web-based EHR system to all Medicaid providers in the state. EHR adoption rates were low in Wyoming because “many of our physicians come from small to mid-sized practices and were unable to find a cost effective and efficient EHR solution that wouldn’t disrupt workflow,” said James Bush, M.D. and Medical Director of the Wyoming Department of Health in a press release.
Additionally, many providers felt there was no point in paying for an EHR system that didn’t connect with a health information exchange (HIE), said Bush. The free EHR system — which is fully certified to meet meaningful use requirements — is connected to the department of health’s HIE.
Interoperability with the state’s HIE has already proven beneficial. Getting electronic health data from the Medicaid providers who have signed up so far has allowed Wyoming’s department of health to be “able to develop significant insight into the Medicaid population’s biggest health issues,” according to Bush. A recent ambulatory report, he noted, revealed a number of opportunities to improve care in various areas.
The program is being rolled out slowly across the state, with a total of 36 providers and 16 practices signed up for the free EHR system to date. According to Bush, providers can be up and running with the system after one day of training.