EHR adoption said steady but slow
Physicians are continuing to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) at a steady pace, but more work is needed to have those systems communicate with each other. This statement is according to two studies published in Health Affairs magazine and reported by the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM).
The first study used data about EHR adoption from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The sample size was 10,302 physicians, with a response rate of more than 89%. Researchers found that solo practitioners' EHR adoption rate grew by more than 127% from 2010 to 2012, but that they still were half as likely to have a basic EHRs as those in groups with 11 or more physicians. Specialists were less likely than primary care physicians to have adopted basic EHRs in 2012, unchanged from two years prior. Finally, basic EHR adoption among physicians 65 and older doubled between 2010 and 2012, but that age group was still the least likely to have a basic EHR. The study defined a basic EHR as having seven capabilities including recording patient history and clinical notes, viewing lab results and imaging reports, and using computerized prescription ordering. Overall, the study found that the number of EHR adopters was up from just more than 25% in 2010.
The second report, also published online in Health Affairs, focused on information exchange. Researchers found that 30% of hospitals and 10% of ambulatory practices participated in one of 119 health information exchanges in 2012. These numbers were more than double the 2010 statistics. For this study, researchers surveyed 322 organizations who could potentially engage in a health information exchange. The exchanges promote interoperability, or the ability of EHR systems to throw and catch patient data between health systems or between hospitals and physician offices, or between physician offices and labs or pharmacies.
Interoperability within the industry remains a challenge for the healthcare industry, according to the National Coordinator for Health IT at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). A survey last year found 71% cited interoperability as a major barrier to further EHR implementation.
You can view the original article from MedpageToday, with links to both studies, at http://bit.ly/1alGXrz.