Physicians report satisfaction with EHR systems


Among office-based physicians who have adopted EHR systems, 85 percent are either somewhat or very satisfied with the technology, according to a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the findings on July 17.

More than half (55 percent) of responding physicians in 2011 said they have adopted at least some EHR technology in their practices. Aside from their overall satisfaction levels, a majority of the surveyed physicians said they would purchase their EHR systems again.

About three-fourths of the physicians who have adopted EHRs reported that their system already meets federal meaningful use requirements to use certified EHR technology. Additionally, about three-fourths of the physicians who are using EHR technology said that using their system “enhanced overall patient care.”  Half of them said they had been alerted to critical lab results within the past 30 days by using the EHR system, and about 40 percent said they had been alerted to potential medication errors.

About three-fourths of the physicians also reported that they had accessed a patient’s chart remotely within the past 30 days, which can be important to patient care when a need arises outside of office hours or the doctor is offsite, the NCHS survey report noted.

Additional findings from the survey:

  • Generally, physicians under age 50 were more likely to adopt EHR systems than physicians aged 50 and over.
  • The proportion of physicians who were adopters increased as the size of the practice increased. Compared with solo practitioners where fewer than one-third of physicians adopted EHR systems, those in 2-physician or 3-to-10-physician practices were twice as likely, and those in practices with 11 or more physicians were nearly three times as likely, to have adopted EHR systems.
  • Only one-half of those in physician-owned practices were adopters, whereas physicians employed by community health centers, academic health centers, and HMOs were more likely to have adopted an EHR system.
  • Nearly half of the physicians currently without an EHR system plan to buy one or use one already purchased within the next year.

“Physicians are increasingly recognizing the importance of electronic health record technology to their patients’ healthcare and the efficient operation of their practices. When doctors use this secure technology, their patients get better care and more efficient care,” Sebelius said.

By meeting meaningful use requirements under the HITECH Act provisions of the 2009 Recovery Act, eligible healthcare providers may qualify for incentive payments administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Through June 30, 2012, more than 119,000 eligible professionals and nearly 3,400 hospitals have received incentive payments.
 

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