HITECH drives docs to EHRs, but cost, productivity issues remain

By Bernie Monegain
02:34 PM

Loss of productivity is the top worry for doctors thinking about switching from paper medical records to electronic ones, according to a new survey by the Medical Group Management Association.

The online survey drew responses from 4,588 practices, representing about 120,000 physicians. Electronic Health Records: Status, Needs and Lessons 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data provides a snapshot of medical practices’ experiences adopting an electronic health record system and the barriers to those that have not.
Most medical practices (80.1 percent) that have already adopted an EHR said they intend to participate in the EHR meaningful use incentives available through the HITECH act.

However, the survey revealed that only 13.6 percent of them are ready to meet all 15 core criteria required for eligibility to receive incentive payments.

Interest in qualifying for EHR incentives was also high among the respondents who are using paper medical records, with 28.8 percent indicating they were in the process of selecting an EHR system. Within this segment, three-fourths (75.2 percent) said they also planned to participate in the HITECH incentive program.

Satisfaction with EHRs
Most physicians with EHRs (nearly 72 percent) said they are satisfied with their overall system. All EHR owners were split, however, over the ability for their EHRs to increase physician productivity.

The findings:

  • 26.5 percent reported that productivity had increased,
  • 30.6 percent indicated productivity had decreased,
  • 42.9 percent reported there was no change in productivity after implementation.

For more survey results, click next page.