Study: 'Deinstallation' of EMRs in Phoenix could be a trend

By Molly Merrill
10:50 AM

The state of Arizona and the Phoenix area have experienced a high adoption rate for electronic medical records, but this has been followed by a "deinstallation" of the technology, according a report by HealthLeaders-InterStudy.

Physician groups in Phoenix are canceling their EMR contracts as a result of training, functionality or affordability issues. This is especially prevalent among smaller physician groups, the report says. 

The report said "deinstallation" due to financial issues is not unique to  physician groups or to Arizona. For example, in areas like Miami, where the economic downturn is threatening the profitability of hospitals, adoption of EMRs has been slow because of a lack of funding for such capital projects.

The uptake of EMR technology in the Phoenix area and throughout Arizona has been credited to a 2005 executive order by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano that all healthcare providers install EMRs by 2010. The market's top hospital systems, Banner Health and Catholic Healthcare West, have installed EMRs, as have several other hospitals in Phoenix.

"Because the Phoenix area has been a real leader in EMR uptake, this is the first market in which we are seeing this deinstallation issue arise, but it likely will not be the last," said Chris Clancy, market analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "There's a physician shortage in Phoenix, so with overcrowded waiting rooms, it's difficult for doctors and their staffs to carve out ample time for training on EMR technology."