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EMR and HIE Use Increases Among U.S. Doctors, Survey Finds

May 9, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Ninety-three percent of U.S. doctors report actively using electronic medical records (EMR), and  nearly half (45 percent) of doctors surveyed said they regularly access clinical data outside their own organization, representing a 32 percent annual increase, according to consulting firm Accenture.

On behalf of Accenture, Harris Interactive conducted an online survey of 3,700 physicians across eight countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.  “U.S. doctors are increasingly embracing EMR and HIE, which enables virtual integration outside a single medical office,” Mark Knickrehm, Accenture’s global managing director who leads the company’s health business, said in a statement. “This growing trend strongly supports a patient-centered approach to care and reinforces the progress physicians are making as they prepare to meet the meaningful use guidelines required by the Affordable Care Act.”

Increasing their overall productivity, U.S. doctors also reported a 32 percent annual increase in the routine use of healthcare IT capabilities compared to an increase of 15 percent among doctors in the other countries surveyed. Most significantly, U.S. doctors reported the highest routine use of two IT capabilities: e-prescribing (65 percent) and entering patient notes into EMRs (78 percent), which represent a 34 percent annual increase.

U.S. physicians also have adopted healthcare IT for basic clinical tasks, such as receiving alerts while seeing patients (45 percent). Despite declining 6 percent globally, more than half of U.S. doctors (57 percent) reported regularly using electronic lab orders, representing a 21 percent annual increase. Most U.S. physicians surveyed (62 percent) also receive their clinical results, such as lab tests, directly into their EMR system, a 24 percent annual increase, which was slightly above the 54 percent average among all doctors surveyed.

The majority of doctors in all countries reported that EMR and HIE have had a positive impact on their practice, such as reducing medical errors (76 percent) and improving the quality of data for clinical research (74 percent). However, U.S. doctors were the least likely (38 percent) to report that using EMR and HIE reduced their organization’s costs. They also said that cost was the single greatest barrier to technology adoption.

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