Assisted living communities using electronic health records for health information exchange most often communicate with pharmacies compared with other settings, according to newly released survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Even then, however, only half of the EHR-equipped communities are exchanging health information with pharmacies.

Overall, EHR use greatly increases the exchange of health information between residential care communities and pharmacies, physicians and hospitals, according to the third wave of the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers conducted in 2016.

Senior living communities with and without EHRs were most likely to exchange health information with pharmacies, then physicians, then hospitals. Communities that used EHRs, however, were much more likely to exchange information.

Among residential care communities with EHRs, the percentage exchanging information with pharmacies was 50.4%. By comparison, 9.3% of communities without EHRs exchanged information with pharmacies.

With physicians, 24.3% of communities with EHRs exchanged information versus 5.9% of communities not using EHRs.

With hospitals, 13.6% of communities using EHRs exchanged information compared with 4.9% of communities without EHRs.

The CDC data come from surveys conducted of 28,900 residential care communities between August 2016 and February 2017.

The research found that, overall, 26% of assisted living and similar residential care communities used EHRs. Use ranged from a high of 61.4% in Minnesota to a low of 11.6% in Arizona.