Physician's Practice finds rate of electronic health record adoption remains steady

Source: UBM Medica US

UBM Medica US's Physician's Practice 2012 Technology Survey, sponsored by AT&T, found that 72 percent of U.S. healthcare providers surveyed—are in some stage of EHR adoption.

Despite government financial incentives rewarding physicians who adopt electronic health records (EHR) systems, adoption has leveled off, as providers continued to complain about high up-front costs and other challenges to making the transition, according to the survey of 1,300 outpatient practices, taken late in 2011 and early this year by Physicians Practice, America's leading business publication for physicians.

Among the findings in the survey:

• 29 percent of those without an EHR cited high cost as the reason, more than any other factor.

• A tipping point has already been reached, whereby more doctors are using the technology than aren't, and the holdouts are now at a competitive disadvantage.

• Hospitals have been acquiring community practices in efforts to increase market share and achieve hospital-physician alignment, and those newly acquired practices will adopt their hospitals' EHR systems.

• Technology vendors are responding to physician concerns, offering access to affordable products via the cloud and adapting their products for use on mobile devices, especially the iPad, which doctors are purchasing in high numbers.

• The days of paper-based healthcare recordkeeping are coming to an end.

"The main obstacle for EHR holdouts is money," explained Bob Keaveney, editorial director of Physicians Practice. "But among physicians, especially in private practice, there is also a deep well of skepticism – even resentment – about federal incentives programs that are designed to get doctors to behave in particular ways. For example, when Medicare introduced a program to drive quality by paying a 'bonus' to physicians who stick to particular clinical protocols for many patients, a lot of doctors balked. They felt manipulated. Right or wrong, I think that many of the EHR holdouts view this incentive program in the same light: as just another attempt to control doctors."

As a companion to this year's survey results, Physician's Practice also identifies five health information technology trends for 2012, talking to physicians and technology experts to identify major trends at practices nationwide.

Offering integrated print and online capabilities, Physicians Practice provides award-winning practice-management advice to more than 150,000 physicians and their practice administrators throughout the United States.

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