Family physicians hit 70 percent EHR adoption rate, study reports

With nearly a 70 percent adoption rate nationwide, EHR adoption among family physicians is happening at a faster clip than previous data suggested, according to results of a study published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine. EHR adoption by family physicians has doubled since 2005, the report said, with researchers estimating that the adoption rate will exceed 80 percent by 2013. 

Findings also revealed a higher percentage of EHR adoption among physicians in comparison to a July 2012 study conducted by the CDC's Center for National Health Statistics, which reported that 55 percent of office-based physicians had adopted EHRs.

EHR adoption rates among family physicians, however, have been shown to be higher than other office-based specialties. One November study, for example, reported that only 41 percent of pediatricians had adopted EHR systems.

Researchers also pointed to geographical differences in EHR adoption rates. Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon and Utah, for example, had significantly higher adoption rates in comparison to states with much lower numbers such as Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.  

According to study co-author Andrew Bazemore, MD, director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Primary Care, told HealthDay that report findings offer "some encouragement that we have passed a critical threshold."  

Utah family physicians had the highest EHR adoption rates in the country, pegged at nearly 95 percent statewide, according to the study, but Bazemore said, "More work is needed, including better information from all of the states." 

North Dakota ranked lowest among the 50 states, with an overall EHR adoption rate of 47 percent.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Association of American Medical Colleges, Georgetown University Medical Center, National Center for Health Statistics, University of Colorado Denver, The Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care and Medstar Franklin Square Hospital.