National Health Center Report: The State of EHR Implementation and Utilization

National Health Center Report: The State of EHR Implementation and Utilization

This blog explores health informatics—a collaborative activity connecting people, process, and technologies to produce trusted data for better decision-making.

By Katherine Downing, MA, RHIA, CPHI, CHPS, PMP


In August, the US Health Resources and Services Administration Health Center Program released the 2017 National Health Center Data, which included data on the adoption of health information technology and capabilities. The total number of reporting program grantees was 1,373. The report indicates that the total patients served by this group is 27,174,372.

Electronic Health Record Systems are Implemented, for the Most Part

According to the report, 96.58 percent of respondents had an electronic health record (EHR) installed that was being used by all providers. There is an additional 2.48 percent of respondents that had a system being used by some, but not all, of their sites or providers.1

There are 11 health centers who indicate they plan to install an EHR system in the next three months, six months, or one-plus years. This represents less than one percent of respondents.

The table below shows what percentage of health centers are utilizing various EHR system functionalities.

Electronic Health Record System Functionality Being Utilized2

Measures Percent of Total
Prescriptions sent to pharmacy electronically 97.96 percent
Clinical decision support for alerts (for example, drug allergies, drug-drug interactions, reminders, other functions) 98.25 percent
Exchange clinical information electronically (for example, hospitals, emergency rooms, subspecialty clinicians) 79.83 percent
Patient engagement (for example, portal, kiosks, secure messaging) 90.17 percent
Use EHR to provide patients with electronic summaries 95.85 percent


The table on health information technology capabilities and quality recognition is just one aspect of the data available in this program report.

More about the Improving Health Care Quality Program and Report Participants

The US Department of Health and Human Services awarded $125 million to 1,352 health centers in all US states, territories, and the District of Columbia as an investment in quality improvement, building upon their 2017 achievements. Health centers use these funds to improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the healthcare delivered to the communities they serve. This report represents their responses to annual performance measures as defined in the Uniform Data System (UDS).

Health Center Program

Community health centers are the providers of choice for essential primary care services for the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Health centers provide a medical home to many people facing geographic, linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers to care.

Health centers provide access to comprehensive, integrated, patient-centered care with a focus on improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities. Almost all health centers meet or exceed at least one national benchmark goal for quality of care.

See the full report, click here:

Other tables of interest in the report include:

  1. Health Resources and Services Administration. “Health Information Technology Capabilities and Quality recognition.”
  2. Ibid.


Katherine Downing ( is vice president, information governance, informatics and standards at AHIMA.

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