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Overall, about one-third of doctors' offices had some form of electronic records last year, compared with one-fourth in 2010.
Among hospitals, 32 percent received the incentive payments last year, the report said, while 61 percent notified the government they intend to qualify.
Those are signs of momentum, but the report found little progress in devising ways for the different computer systems to communicate with each other.
Part of the problem is that there isn't much financial incentive for competing health care providers to share information.
If an emergency room orders a test on a patient that a family doctor had run a week ago, the hospital gets paid for it. If the emergency room doctor relies on the test results from the family doctor, that's less revenue for the hospital.
"Health information exchange will not occur at optimal levels ... without a viable, sustainable business model," the report said.
Only from 7 percent to 11 percent of individuals have a personal electronic medical record. Some early adopters still run into problems with basic tasks such as downloading test results, renewing prescriptions online or scheduling appointments.
The report also says the government must address gaps in privacy protections. For example, a federal health privacy law that applies to hospitals, doctors, insurers and data transmission companies doesn't apply to companies that market electronic medical records directly to the public.
"This uneven coverage of federal health privacy law can be confusing for consumers and contributes to reluctance," the report said.
Bipartisan Policy Center report:
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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