Size matters when it comes to EHR adoption

By Molly Merrill
09:21 AM

The larger a practice is – the more physicians, exam rooms and patients it has – the more likely it is to adopt electronic health records, according to a new report.

The study, "Physician Office Usage of Electronic Health Records Software," was released by SK&A, A Cegedim Company, a provider of healthcare information solutions and research, and was based on an ongoing telephone survey of 237,562 U.S. medical sites.

The report showed an overall EHR adoption rate of 40.4 percent and revealed the following correlations:

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  • EHR adoption rises as the number of physicians practicing at each site rises. Offices with one practicing physician had 30.8 percent adoption, while offices with 26-plus practicing physicians had 75.5 percent adoption.
  • EHR adoption rises as the number of exam rooms at each site rises. Offices with one exam room had 28.2 percent adoption, while offices with 11-plus exam rooms had 64.1 percent adoption.
  • EHR adoption rises as the average daily patient volume at each site rises. Offices with average daily patient volumes of one to 50 patients had 36 percent adoption, while offices with 101-plus patients had 66.1 percent adoption.

“This update of the ‘Physician Office Usage of Electronic Health Records Software’ report illustrates a significant, timely opportunity to reach out to and educate decision makers in smaller physician offices on the benefits of adopting EHR,” said Dave Escalante, vice president and general manager of SK&A and OneKey. “The insights available in this report will guide healthcare IT solution vendors and consultants directly to this untapped segment of the market.”

The study also includes EHR adoption rates and growth by software application, site ownership, region, state and practice specialty.

SK&A has assumed the leading role in measuring medical office adoption rates of EHR through its comprehensive survey methodology. In February of this year, SK&A was awarded a multiyear contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to track adoption rates and planned usage.

Another ongoing survey by SK&A, titled “EHR Adoption in Medical Offices: Looking Forward,” provides deeper insights for EHR adoption and intent; including timeframes for adoption, buying factors, primary decision makers and awareness of government incentives. Key findings in this survey of 40,000 U.S. medical sites include:

  • Most physician offices (72.6 percent) have not yet determined a time frame for EHR adoption.
  • Cost is the most important buying factor for 16.7 percent of physician offices; however, 70.7 percent have indicated no single main buying factor.
  • One fifth (20.8 percent) of physician offices are unaware of EHR government incentives.

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