CDC: Most physicians like their electronic health record systems

By National Underwriter

National Underwriter

By Allison Bell

Many physicians seem to be adopting electronic health record (EHR) systems, and most of the physicians with EHR systems seem to be at least somewhat satisfied with their systems.

Eric Jamoom and other researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have reported that finding in an EHR satisfaction paper posted on the CDC website.

The researchers based their paper on results from a 2011 mail survey of 5,232 office-based physicians who treat ambulatory patients. About 61 percent of the physicians participated in the survey.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) provides incentives for office-based physicians who make "meaningful use" of EHR systems.

About 55 percent of the physicians -- and 64 percent of participating physicians under age 50 -- said they had adopted EHR systems, and about three-quarters said they believed their use of the EHR systems meets the PPACA "meaningful use" standards.

About 47 percent of the physicians with EHR systems said they are somewhat satisfied with the systems, and 38 percent said they are very satisfied, the researchers report. Only 5 percent said they were "very dissatisfied."

About 75 percent said they believe their use of EHR systems has helped improve patient care.

The researchers found that bigger practices were more likely to have EHR systems.

Only 29 percent of solo practitioners said they had EHR systems. Participants' EHR adoption rate was 60 percent for those in practices with 2 physicians, 62 percent for practices with 3 to 10 physicians, and 86 percent for practices with 11 or more physicians.

Just about all physicians in practices owned by health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and 70 percent of the physicians in academic health center practices said they were using EHR systems.

The researchers gave physicians who do not yet have EHR systems a separate survey.

Only 32 percent of the non-adopters said they had no intention of buying EHR systems in the next 12 months, and 27 percent said they intended to buy EHR systems in the next 12 months. About 21 percent said they already had bought EHR systems but were not yet using the systems. "This finding suggests an increase in EHR adoption is likely to take place in 2012 among 2011's nonadopters, potentially amplifying the impact of federal policy incentives," the researchers say.

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