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Study: 50% of Physicians Reported Using All/Partial EHR

January 12, 2011
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There has been an increasing trend in EMR/EHR use among office-based physicians from 2001 through the preliminary 2010 estimates, according to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Combined data from the 2009 surveys (mail survey and in-person survey) showed that 48.3 percent of physicians reported using all or partial EMR/EHR systems in their office-based practices. About 21.8 percent of physicians reported having systems that met the criteria of a basic system, and about 6.9 percent reported having systems that met the criteria of a fully functional system, a subset of a basic system. Preliminary 2010 estimates from the mail survey showed that 50.7 percent of physicians reported using all or partial EMR/EHR systems, similar to the 2009 estimate. About 24.9 percent reported having systems that met the criteria of a basic system, and 10.1 percent reported having systems that met the criteria of a fully functional system, a subset of a basic system. Between 2009 and 2010, the percentage of physicians reporting having systems that met the criteria of a basic or a fully functional system increased by 14.2 percent and 46.4 percent, respectively. Due to questionnaire modifications in 2010, survey items used to define basic and fully functional systems are slightly different from 2009.

Preliminary 2010 estimates from the mail survey showed that the percentage of physicians using all or partial EMR/EHR systems by state ranged from 38.1 percent to 80.2 percent. The percentage of physicians having systems that met the criteria of a basic system by state ranged from 12.5 percent to 51.5 percent. Excluding 27 states with unreliable estimates, the percentage of physicians having systems that met the criteria of a fully functional system across the United States ranged from 9.7 percent to 27.2 percent.

The NAMCS is an annual nationally representative survey of patient visits that includes office-based physicians and collects information on the adoption and use of electronic medical records/electronic health records (EMRs/EHRs). Since 2008, a supplemental mail survey on EMRs/EHRs has been conducted in addition to the core NAMCS, an in-person survey. In 2010, the mail survey sample size increased five-fold to allow for state-level estimates, and survey questions were slightly modified to ask physicians about their intentions to apply for meaningful use incentive payments.




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