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Survey: Office practices generally happy with EHR

Wednesday July 18, 2012
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In a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, office-based physicians who have adopted electronic health records generally expressed satisfaction with their systems.

According to the survey, 55% of responding physicians in 2011 said they have adopted at least some EHR technology in their practices. In addition, 85% of physicians who have adopted EHRs said they were somewhat (47%) or very (38%) satisfied with their EHR system. A majority of the physicians said they would purchase their EHR systems again, further indicating their satisfaction with the new technology.

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 with EHR technology said using their system "enhanced overall patient care." Half said they had been alerted to critical lab results within the past 30 days by using the EHR system, and about 40% said they had been alerted to potential medication errors.

About three-fourths of the physicians also reported that they had accessed a patientís chart remotely within the past 30 days. This aspect of EHR can be beneficial for patient care when a need arises outside of office hours or the physician is offsite.

The widespread, meaningful use of certified EHR technology is part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to improve healthcare quality by better coordinating patient care, reducing medical errors, cutting out duplicate tests and lowering the overall cost of healthcare. The 2009 Recovery Act — also known as the federal stimulus bill — provides incentive payments to eligible physicians and hospitals that meaningfully use certified EHRs.

"Physicians are increasingly recognizing the importance of electronic health record technology to their patientsí healthcare and the efficient operation of their practices," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release. "When doctors use this secure technology, their patients get better care and more efficient care."

By meeting meaningful use requirements under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provisions of the 2009 Recovery Act, eligible healthcare providers, including professionals and hospitals, may qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Through June 30, more than 119,000 eligible professionals and nearly 3,400 hospitals had received incentive payments.

Nearly half of the physicians without an EHR system plan to buy one or begin using one already purchased within the next year, according to the survey, meaning an increase in EHR use is likely.

To read the survey, conducted by the CDCís National Center for Health Statistics, visit http://1.usa.gov/LXmi1J.


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