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Survey: When it Comes to EHRs, U.S. is on the Right Track

November 15, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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A new study from the Commonwealth Fund and Harris Interactive has found that physicians from the United States have made progress in adopting EHRs when compared to similarly developed countries. The study compared the attitudes and thoughts of primary care physicians from the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

According to the survey, which was conducted between March and July 2012 and appears in the journal Health Affairs, 69 percent of US doctors report the use of EHRs. This puts them in the same realm as physicians from France and Germany. Above them are physicians from the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and the U.K. The survey’s authors found that the spread of EHR usage in both the US and Canada has been “rapid” since 2009.

In addition, the survey's authors found that in places where EHR usage is commonplace, physicians routinely electronic order entry for lab tests and prescription drug. On the other hand, decision support was less common. In terms of multifunctional EHR capacity, the U.K. ranked near the top, while the US had much a lot of progress since the last survey from this group in 2009.

In terms of information exchange capability, New Zealand practices ranked near the top with 55 percent of physicians reporting the ability to do this, while Canada was ranked at the bottom.

Along with information on health IT usage, the survey looked at the attitudes of physicians from these various countries. In this realm, US physicians were ranked dead last. Only 15 percent of US physicians thought their system worked well. Germany was next with only 22 percent of their physicians thought that system was a good fit.

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