An Assessment of California’s Health Information Technology Landscape in 2022

California has worked with the federal government for the past 12 years to help state Medicaid providers adopt and use electronic health record (EHR) systems. As part of this collaboration, the state was required to prepare and deliver a state Medicaid health information technology (IT) plan, which includes a health IT landscape assessment outlining the California’s current health informatics environment. The assessment reports on the state of adoption and use of health IT by stakeholders, past trends in adoption and use of health IT during the period of federal support and remaining challenges to achieve full adoption and optimal use of health IT.

The latest version of the California Healthcare IT Landscape Assessment was completed in early 2022 by researchers from the Clinical Informatics Improvement and Research Group at the University of California, San Francisco, along with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) staff. This note is a summary of the main findings of the evaluation.

Main findings

  • Funding from the HITECH Act and “meaningful use” programs have significantly helped medical providers adopt EHRs and gain the capabilities to electronically exchange patient data.
  • Although most hospitals and other eligible entities can send patient data electronically, the degree of data sharing and the value of the data received can be improved.
  • The participation of healthcare providers in regional and local organizations of HIEs has increased significantly, but many HIOs face financial sustainability issues and other barriers.
  • Electronic exchange of public health data has improved, but provider organizations cite remaining barriers to effective electronic reporting and exchange that will need to be addressed by public health agencies.
  • HITECH’s funding and meaningful use programs have done little to increase EHR adoption and electronic data interchange for skilled nursing facilities, substance abuse treatment facilities, and non-medical social service agencies. This leaves a noticeable gap in achieving the goals of the CalAIM program, which the state may need to fill.
  • Further policy measures and regulatory changes are needed to facilitate and promote the electronic data exchange necessary for state initiatives such as CalAIM.

About the Author

Walter Sujansky, MD, PhD, is the principal consultant for Sujansky & Associates, a California-based consulting firm specializing in the analysis and design of EHRs, disease registries, and health information exchange solutions. Sujansky is also an adjunct professor at the Stanford School of Medicine’s Center for Biomedical Informatics Research and a health informatics consultant for litigation involving intellectual property and medical malpractice.

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