Survey: EMR adoption on the rise

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The percentage of respondents who report using an EMR continues to rise, with 43 percent in 2009 reporting current use, up from 33 percent in 2007 and 27 percent in 2005, according to a recently release EMR report by the Texas Medical Association (TMA).

Collected from Oct. 8 to Nov. 29, 2009, the Austin-based organization’s survey sought to benchmark physician needs and experiences with EMRs. The response rate was a combined 4 percent, equaling 370 respondents. According to TMA, 87 percent of the survey respondents were TMA members, 6 percent were non-members and 7 percent of the respondents’ affiliation was unknown.

For those under 40 years of age, the report showed that 60 percent are currently using an EMR while EMR adoption for those over 60 years of age is 33 percent. Among those age 60 or older, 31 percent do not plan to implement an EMR--almost double the number of the next highest group (age 50-59, at 16 percent).

For those who do plan to implement an EMR, 35 percent plan on implementation in one to two years, 22 percent plan to implement one in the next six months to a year and 14 percent are in the process of implementation now, TMA said.

Electronic charting was the most enjoyable aspect of respondents’ EMRs (76 percent), according to the survey. However, 50 percent of respondents found the data input difficult or time-consuming.

The median reported purchase, training and implementation costs are $18,000 per physician, and monthly maintenance costs are reported as being $350 per physician, TMA reported.

When asked how purchase and implementation costs compared with initial vendor estimates, 57 percent of respondents said costs were equal to initial vendor estimates. Forty-one percent of respondents reported costs as being more than initial vendor estimates — on average, 31 percent more, TMA said.

Among the respondents, 59 percent plan on applying for stimulus funds under the Health IT for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, TMA reported.