Healthcare News & Insights

More than 80% of family doctors will use EHRs by the end of the year, study says

Despite some trepidation about the positive impact of EHRs and other health IT as it’s currently being implemented, adoption of EHRs is only picking up speed, a new study says. 

Family physicians especially are switching to electronic health records faster than previously thought, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

The number of family physicians using EHRs doubled from 2005 to 2011, reaching just under 68%. That was higher than the adoption rate of other kinds of office-based specialists, and researchers predict more than 80% of family physicians will have switched to EHRs at some point in 2013.

The research was based on two separate surveys which show similar adoption rates among family physicians.

For EHR proponents, the findings of this survey are even more encouraging than other recent research showing the numbers of healthcare providers that have switched to EHRs. For example, a different study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that overall, 55% of physicians were using EHR systems in 2011.

Another 2011 study found that large physicians offices — those with 26 or more doctors — had EHR systems installed in more than 75% of cases, while just 30% of single-physician practices were using EHRs.

More recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services reported that 75% of eligible hospitals were participating in the federal EHR incentive program.

Quickly rising adoption rates should be good news for providers and patients overall, too, as a recent report report suggested that one reason health IT systems haven’t delivered the cost savings that were expected is that not enough providers are using those systems, making information sharing difficult.

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