Healthcare providers must adopt and successfully demonstrate meaningful use of a certified electronic health record (EHR) system by 2015 or pay a penalty. Studies and surveys are assessing the use and features of EHR systems in physician practices across the country. According to the annual report of SK&A, a healthcare information research firm that studies adoption rates for the government, EHR usage has risen by more than 10 percent in solo and small group practices. The study also found that and implementation is growing for all physicians.
The details of the SK&A report were discussed in an article on medscape.com. A telephone survey of more than 270,000 US medical sites indicated a 11.4% increase in EHR adoption and the figures rose from 42.3% to 53.7%. The adoption rate was 77.5% in offices with 26 or more physicians, which was just a 1.6% increase from the previous year. Overall, the adoption rate rose from 50.3% to 61% increase in 2013 compared to the previous year.
According to this report, the main reason for this progress in the EHR adoption rate in solo and small practices is the availability of more than 450 different solutions that can be adapted to the needs, size and budget of the practices.
Other findings on EHR adoption are as follows:
- Highest adoption rates – (80.6%), internal medicine/pediatrics (75.8%), nephrology (70.5%), pathology (69.4%), and radiology (69.2%)
- Top 5 states – Utah (71.6%), South Dakota (71.2%), Wyoming (71.0%), Iowa (70.8%), and North Dakota (69.2%)
- EHR adoption with integrated health systems – 63.4% to 71.4%
The adoption rate differed among offices:
- 3 to 5 practicing physicians – 69.6%
- 11 to 25 practicing physicians – 78.1%
- 1 exam room – 39.7%
- 11-plus exam rooms – 74.8%
- 101-plus average daily patients – 76.3%
- 1 to 50 average daily patients – 57.5%
Another study, the results of which were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are similar. According to this study
- Use of any type of EHR system by office-based physicians rose from 18% in 2001 to 48% in 2009 and 78% in the 2013 estimates; 2009 is the year the HITECH Act authorized incentive payments to increase EHR adoption.
- In 2013, up to 48% of office-based physicians reported having a system that met the criteria for a basic system; only 11% of office-based physicians fell under this category in 2006, the first year that information on basic systems is available.
As EHR adoption rates increase, the need for EHR-integrated documentation will also rise. Medical transcription companies have adapted to these new requirements by offering EHR interfacing to maximize physician productivity while ensuring Meaningful Use.