One in Four MDs Have Adopted Electronic Records
About one in four physicians use some type of electronic health records, while fewer than one in 10 use a comprehensive EHR system, according to a study that suggests "a technology frequently billed as a way to improve the quality and efficiency of care has yet to win widespread acceptance," the Washington Post reports (Lee, Washington Post, 10/12).
The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS (CongressDaily, 10/11).
For the study, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and George Washington University examined surveys completed since 1995 to determine the current extent of EHR usage (Washington Post, 10/12). The study found that no reliable data exists on the percentage of hospitals that have adopted EHRs.
However, about 5% of hospitals used computerized physician order entry systems, according to the study. Overall, 23.9% of physicians providing care in nonhospital settings used some form of EHRs, while about 9% used "fully operational" systems that collect patient information, display test results, allow physicians to order medications and assist providers in making treatment decisions, the study found.
Physicians who treat large numbers of Medicaid beneficiaries were half as likely as other physicians to have adopted EHRs, according to the study (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 10/11).
The study also found that physicians in private practices or in practices with one other physician were much less likely than other physicians to have adopted EHRs, which is significant because about half of U.S. physicians practice in such settings, according to co-author Ashish Jha, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health (Washington Post, 10/12).
In addition, the study found that physicians in cities, those in larger practices and those in large health care facilities were most likely to have adopted EHRs, according to co-author David Blumenthal, director of the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General.
The study also included standard definitions of "electronic health record system" and "adoption." The study states that "for policy makers to understand the effectiveness of efforts to improve EHR adoption, we will need ongoing tracking with high-quality surveys."
John Lumpkin, a senior vice president at RWJF, said the researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study next year (CQ HealthBeat, 10/11).