Survey names top five states for physician EHR adoption

Forty-one percent of Oregon's physicians have adopted electronic health records, according to a new report by researchers from the Doctors Company. Following Oregon for physician adoption are Georgia at 39 percent, Florida at 37 percent, Washington at 35 percent and Virginia at 34 percent.

The report, released on Feb. 29 by researchers at the Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurance firm, was based on a survey of 5,105 doctors nationwide. It gleaned some telling comments from physicians about the EHR switchover.

According to the survey, 30 percent of doctors have already implemented EHRs that meet meaningful use criteria. Despite their compliance with meaningful use, some of those doctors said EHRs provide little benefit to their practice or patients, with related bureaucracy increasing costs and reducing time spent building the doctor-patient relationship. “Eventually, the EHR will help,” said one primary care doctor in Oregon. “It’s not there yet. Very cumbersome.”

Fourteen percent of the doctors surveyed said they plan to implement an EHR in the next three years. Doctors in this category expect to purchase an EHR that meets the meaningful use criteria, but their comments suggest they feel pressured. “[Health care reform] is pushing me into EHR before I wanted to,” said a primary care doctor from California.

Seventeen percent of doctors have no plans to use an EHR in their practice, the study found. Some doctors suggested EHRs may increase risk because the new process “fragments care and buries significant findings in an ocean of repetition.” One surgeon in Colorado said, “As a solo practitioner, the burden of EHR implementation (or suffer the mandatory ‘discount’) hangs over my head!”

[See also: HHS touts big strides in health IT adoption.]

The survey also found that 56 percent of doctors indicated they are not likely to change practice models over the next five years.

Only 20 percent of doctors plan to shift practice models or make other changes. Other possible changes include practicing part-time, leaving medicine for a different career, or retiring.

Twenty-four percent of doctors did not select a future practice model. This suggests respondents feel substantial uncertainty about their prospects, researchers said.

According to the survey, 14 percent of doctors are planning to participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs). Fifty-seven percent of doctors are either undecided or need more information regarding ACO participation. Twenty-nine percent indicated they do not plan to participate in an ACO.

[See also: Mostashari: 'Breathtaking progress' on EHR front.]

The full  report, titled "The Future of Health Care, A National Survey of Physicians," can be found here.

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