EHR use reaches 72 percent nationwide among office-based physicians

Nearly three-quarters of office-based physicians nationwide used EHRs in 2012, according to a newly released report from the National Center on Health Statistics (NCHS). The official tally was 72 percent, an increase of 24 percent compared to the 48 percent level of EHR usage measured in 2009.

EHR use among physicians ranged from 54 percent in New Jersey to 89 percent in Massachusetts, the NCHS study found.

Compared with the national average, the percentage of physicians using any EHR system was lowest in Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana and New Jersey, according to the report, and higher in Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.

The percentage of physicians who had systems meeting the criteria for a basic system was lower in the District of Columbia and Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and New Jersey and higher in Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin when compared with the national average of 40 percent (up from 22 percent in 2009).

In 2012, 66 percent of office-based physicians reported that they planned to apply, or had already had applied, for meaningful use incentives, NCHS found.

In addition, in 2012, 27 percent of office-based physicians who planned to apply or already had applied for meaningful use incentives had computerized systems with capabilities to support 13 of the Stage 1 Core Set objectives for meaningful use.

Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health information technology, said the new report shows that the use of EHRs in doctors’ offices is trending in the right direction, as the number who are using a system that meets meaningful use criteria has doubled.

"This increase shows that the use of EHRs to deliver better care is becoming the norm across the country," Mostashari said.

The study defined physician office as "a place where non-federally employed physicians provide direct patient care in the 50 states and the District of Columbia; excludes radiologists, anesthesiologists and pathologists."

You can view the complete study here.