CDC Survey Finds Few Hospitals Use Electronic Medical Records
Less than one-third of hospital emergency and outpatient departments, and even a smaller proportion of physicians' offices, are using electronic medical records, according to a recent survey conducted by CDC, CQ HealthBeat reports. Between 2001 and 2003, agency researchers found that 31% of hospital emergency departments, 29% of outpatient departments and 17% of doctors' offices had electronic medical records, according to CDC.
CDC officials also found that about 8% of physicians used an electronic system to order prescription drugs and diagnostic tests, according to the survey. Physicians younger than age 50 are twice as likely to use electronic systems to order prescriptions as physicians older than age 50. The survey also finds that about 40% of emergency departments and 18% of outpatient departments use CPOE systems. Metropolitan-area EDs and EDs with a high volume of patients are most likely to use automated drug-dispensing systems, according to the survey. David Brailer, National Health Information Technology Coordinator, said in a release, "We are seeing a widening gap between larger hospitals and physician groups and their smaller counterparts. ... We need to create incentives for providers to adopt electronic medical records and ensure the products they buy will do the job" (CQ HealthBeat, 3/16).