Investment Subsidies and the Adoption of Electronic Medical Records in Hospitals

David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite, Christopher Ody, Bingyang Li

NBER Working Paper No. 20553
Issued in October 2014
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics, Public Economics

In February 2009 the U.S. Congress unexpectedly passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). HITECH provides up to $27 billion to promote adoption and appropriate use of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) by hospitals. We measure the extent to which HITECH incentive payments spurred EMR adoption by independent hospitals. Adoption rates for all independent hospitals grew from 48 percent in 2008 to 77 percent by 2011. Absent HITECH incentives, we estimate that the adoption rate would have instead been 67 percent in 2011. When we consider that HITECH funds were available for all hospitals and not just marginal adopters, we estimate that the cost of generating an additional adoption was $48 million. We also estimate that in the absence of HITECH incentives, the 77 percent adoption rate would have been realized by 2013, just 2 years after the date achieved due to HITECH.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20553

Published: David Dranove & Craig Garthwaite & Bingyang Li & Christopher Ody, 2015. "Investment subsidies and the adoption of electronic medical records in hospitals," Journal of Health Economics, vol 44, pages 309-319.

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