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Survey: EHR Adoption Has Leveled Off

July 19, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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A new study from research firm, Norwalk, Conn.-based, UBM Medica US's office, found that 72 percent of U.S. healthcare providers surveyed are in some stage of EHR adoption. The study, Physician's Practice 2012 Technology Survey, said that even though government financial incentives reward physicians who adopt EHR systems, adoption has leveled off as providers continued to complain about high up-front costs and other challenges to making the transition.

The survey’s authors, who talked with 1,300 outpatient practices, also found that 29percent of those without an EHR cited high cost as the reason, more than any other factor. The tipping point, the survey said, has already been reached, whereby more doctors are using the technology than aren't, and the holdouts are now at a disadvantage.

The survey, which was taken late last year, also found that hospitals have been acquiring community practices in efforts to increase market share and achieve hospital-physician alignment, and those newly acquired practices will adopt their hospitals' EHR systems.  Also, technology vendors are responding to physician concerns, offering access to affordable products via the cloud and adapting their products for use on mobile devices, especially the iPad, which doctors are purchasing in high numbers.

"The main obstacle for EHR holdouts is money,” Bob Keaveney, editorial director of Physicians Practice, a UBM Medica resource tool, said in a statement. "But among physicians, especially in private practice, there is also a deep well of skepticism – even resentment – about federal incentives programs that are designed to get doctors to behave in particular ways. For example, when Medicare introduced a program to drive quality by paying a 'bonus' to physicians who stick to particular clinical protocols for many patients, a lot of doctors balked. They felt manipulated. Right or wrong, I think that many of the EHR holdouts view this incentive program in the same light: as just another attempt to control doctors."

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