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Study: EHR Adoption Rate Growing Among Family Physicians

January 15, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) by family physicians has doubled since 2005, exceeds other office-based physicians as a group and is likely to surpass 80 percent by 2013, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

The study used national data from used data from a census survey completed by candidates applying for the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Maintenance of Certification examination and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMC) to estimate EHR uptake by family physicians and compared trends. Researchers then compared adoption rates by family physicians with rates by other outpatient physicians and also investigated geographic variation in EHR adoption at the state level.

Findings also suggest geographical differences in EHR adoption rates. Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin had significantly higher EHR adoption rates than the two-year, pooled ABFM national average of 62.6 percent. On the other hand, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio had significantly lowerEHR adoption rates than the ABFM national average. States with higher EHR adoption among family physicians generally had higher EHR adoption for other office-based physicians, consistent with a state-level effect.

EHRs are generally expected to improve the quality of health care, lower health care costs and provide patients with more involvement in their own health care. Federal efforts to increase adoption of EHRs have accelerated in recent years, especially with the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

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