Survey reveals docs' perceptions of EHRs as potential buyers, users

Meaningful use remains the strongest driver to implement electronic health records for physicians, according to a new survey that finds both potential EHR buyers and current users valuing the technology, but with substantially different perceptions and expectations.

Sage Healthcare Division, a developer of electronic health records for medical practices across North America, worked with Forester to conduct a survey among physicians nationwide in an effort to examine perceptions and determine attitudes toward these systems. The sample included both physicians using EHR and those in the market for the technology.

[See also: $400M in EHR incentives delivered]

The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of potential cost savings, benefits of these systems to small and mid-sized practices and to find any intangibles of using EHRs, such as physicians providing care from multiple locations or helping physicians have more time away from the office because of increased mobility and connectivity.

“Implementation of EHRs in the U.S. continue to grow as an increased number of physicians and staff gain a better understanding of  the efficiency and cost-saving benefits of using the technology,” said Betty Otter-Nickerson, president of the Sage Healthcare Division. “However, a significant number of office-based practices have yet to implement an EHR solution. Sage’s survey was conducted to examine current perceptions and predominant trends that will help us design the best solutions to maximize the benefits of EHR.”

The survey findings indicated that meaningful use incentives are still one of the strongest drivers for most physicians (64 percent) to implement EHR technology, but for 32 percent of those who are in the market for EHRs, insufficient capital is still a key challenge to the switch.

[See also: Top 5 worst EMR myths]

The survey found that EHR users said they measure their success through reporting and tracking healthcare outcomes (64 percent) and error reduction (62 percent), but those who have yet to purchase EHR responded they would measure EHR success through increased revenue (74 percent) followed by reporting and tracking healthcare outcomes (60 percent).

Also, current EHR users are more aware of additional benefits than those who haven’t implemented the technology yet and expected achievements with EHR are stronger for those who have already purchased the solution.

Key findings of the survey in general: