How can I convince leaders of a critical access hospital or rural hospital to adopt electronic health records?

Health Care Quality and Patient Outcomes

Critical access hospital (CAH) and rural hospital leaders want to know how electronic health records (EHRs) will improve rural health care quality and patient outcomes. Learn more about the benefits of EHRs for CAHs and other small rural hospitals, so you can explain to leaders how EHRs will improve your organization’s ability to care for patients. Case studies and success stories from providers like you are also powerful and provide tangible details to make your pitch memorable.

Return on Investment

You will also need to convince leaders that EHRs will improve the bottom line. Studies have shown EHRs generate a positive return on investment, improve staff efficiency, and help organizations meet business goals.1-3 You can calculate your organization’s expected return on investment and use the Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment tool to help support your case for EHR implementation. Remember, however, that it will take time before your CAH or rural hospital will fully realize the benefits of EHRs.

Electronic Health Record Implementation Financing

Many CAHs and rural hospitals lack access to the capital funding required to implement EHRs, but help is available. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is making available up to $27 billon in EHR incentives through the EHR Incentive Programs. As a CAH or rural hospital, your organization can take advantage of the incentive programs to help recoup the costs of EHR implementation. In addition to the EHR Incentive Programs, there are many other federal funding opportunities to available to help your organization adopt and implement health IT:

For More Information

For more information about health care quality and patient outcomes, return on investment, and financing EHR implementation in rural health care settings, see the following resources.


  1. Wang SJ, Middleton B, Prosser LA, Bardon CG, Spurr CD, Carchidi PJ, Kittler AF, Goldszer RC, Fairchild DG, Sussman AJ, Kuperman GJ, Bates DW. “A cost-benefit analysis of electronic medical records in primary care.” Am J Med. 2003.
  2. Grieger DL, Cohen SH, Krusch DA. “A pilot study to document the return on investment for implementing an ambulatory electronic health record at an academic medical center.” J Am Coll Surg. 2007.
  3. Miller RH, West C, Brown TM, Sim I, Ganchoff C. “The Value of Electronic Health Records in Solo or Small Group Practices.” Health Affairs. 2005.
Content last reviewed on September 11, 2014
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