2011 EHR adoption rates indicate sunny outlook

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EHR system adoption rates increase with the size of a physician practice and most physicians are satisfied with their EHR system, according to the figures for 2011 physician adoption of EHR systems published in a data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2011, 55 percent of physicians had adopted an EHR system. Seventy-seven percent of physicians who have adopted an EHR system reported that their system meets federal "meaningful use" criteria. Most are pleased with their EHR system with 47 percent reported being somewhat satisfied and 38 percent reported being satisfied. About three-quarters of adopters reported that using their EHR system resulted in enhanced patient care. Nearly one-half of physicians currently without an EHR system plan to purchase or use one already purchased within the next year.

    Among solo practitioners, 29 percent were adopters of EHR systems. The proportion of physicians who were adopters increased as the size of the practice increased, with 60 percent of physicians in two-physician practices, 62 percent of physicians in 3-10 physician practices and 86 percent of physicians in practices with 11 or more physicians having adopted EHR systems.

    Half of physicians in physician-owned practices were adopters, whereas virtually all physicians in health maintenance organizations, 74 percent of physicians in community health centers and 70 percent in academic health centers had adopted EHR systems. Primary care (58 percent) and medical care specialists (55 percent) did not significantly differ from each other in EHR adoption, but a greater proportion of primary care specialists had adopted EHR systems compared with surgical specialists (48 percent).

    Although the vast majority of physicians who have adopted an EHR system (85 percent) reported their satisfaction with the system, 15 percent of providers were either very dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied with their EHR system. The majority (71 percent) of adopters would purchase their EHR system again

      A majority of adopters reported having accessed a patient's chart remotely (74 percent) and having been alerted to critical lab values (50 percent) by using their EHR system within the past 30 days.

      Among nonadopters, about 32 percent reported having no intention to purchase an EHR system within 12 months, and 20 percent reported being undecided about whether to purchase an EHR system in the next 12 months. Twenty-seven percent of nonadopters reported their intention to purchase an EHR system within 12 months and 21 percent have already purcahsed one.

      The full brief is available on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website.