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Report: Office-Based Physicians Increasingly Adopting EHRs

December 6, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a report from researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which is affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of office-based physicians using electronic health records (EHRs) has risen steadily since the 2009 enactment of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). The report, “Use and Characteristics of Electronic Health Record Systems Among Office-based Physician Practices: United States, 2001-2012,” says that 72 percent of office-based physicians used any electronic medical record (EMR) or EHR systems, up from 48 percent in 2009.

This number has risen just as steadily for EHRs that have met the requirements of a basic system, which according to NCHS, is a system that has the following attributes: patient history and demographics, patient problem lists, physician clinical notes, comprehensive list of patients' medications and allergies, computerized orders for prescriptions, and ability to view laboratory and imaging results electronically. In 2009, only 22 percent of office-based physicians had an EHR with this kind of system. In 2012, the number is at 40 percent of office-based physicians.

Furthermore, the researchers, Chun-Ju Hsiao, Ph.D., and Esther Hing, M.P.H., found that 66 percent of office-based physicians reported they plan to apply, or already had applied, for meaningful use incentives. Twenty-seven percent of these office-based physicians were looking at or already had systems that had capabilities to support 13 of the Stage 1 Core Set objectives for meaningful use.

The report goes through specific statistics for each state. Massachusetts and Wisconsin led the pack. Eighty-nine percent of the Bay State’s office-based physicians have adopted any EHR system, while 70  percent of Wisconsin’s physicians have adopted a basic system. New Jersey and the District of Columbia brought up the rear on having adopted any EHR and basic EHR systems respectively. Wisconsin had the highest percentage of office-based physicians that had EHRs capable of supporting 13 Stage 1 Core Set objectives.

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