July 17, 2012
Physicians using electronic health record technology, express positive views
In national survey, about three-fourths report technology improves the care they deliver
A national survey of office-based physicians reports that most of those who have adopted electronic health record (EHR) systems are satisfied with their system and say it has improved patient care, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.
According to the survey, 55 percent of responding physicians in 2011 said they have adopted at least some EHR technology in their practices. In addition, 85 percent of physicians who have adopted EHRs said they were somewhat (47 percent) or very (38 percent) satisfied with their EHR system. Additionally, a majority of the physicians said they would purchase their EHR systems again, further indicating their satisfaction with the new technology.
About three-fourths of the physicians who have adopted EHRs reported that their system already meets federal “meaningful use” requirements to use certified EHR technology. Additionally, about three-fourths of the physicians who are using EHR technology said that using their system “enhanced overall patient care.” Half of them said they had been alerted to critical lab results within the past 30 days by using the EHR system, and about 40 percent said they had been alerted to potential medication errors.
About three-fourths of the physicians also reported that they had accessed a patient’s chart remotely within the past 30 days, which can be important to patient care when a need arises outside of office hours or the doctor is offsite.
The survey was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The widespread, meaningful use of certified EHRs technology is part of the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to improve health care quality by better coordinating patient care, reducing medical errors, cutting out duplicate tests, and lowering the overall cost of health care. The 2009 Recovery Act provides incentive payments to eligible physicians and hospitals that meaningfully use certified EHRs.
“Physicians are increasingly recognizing the importance of electronic health record technology to their patients’ health care and the efficient operation of their practices. When doctors use this secure technology, their patients get better care and more efficient care,” Secretary Sebelius said.
By meeting meaningful use requirements under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provisions of the 2009 Recovery Act, eligible health care providers, including professionals and hospitals, may qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Through June 30, 2012, more than 119,000 eligible professionals and nearly 3,400 hospitals have received incentive payments.
Nearly half of the physicians currently without an EHR system plan to buy one or use one already purchased within the next year. This finding suggests, the report says, that an increase in EHR use is likely in the coming year.
For more information about the NCHS survey, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db98.htm
To learn more about electronic health records, see http://healthit.hhs.gov
For more information on HITECH, see http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/index.html
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: April 4, 2014