Family doctor EHR use up although use varies by location

The Annals of Family Medicine reports that although use of electronic health records has not increased significantly in all regions, it has risen dramatically nationwide in the last few years.

Via Modern Healthcare:

The number of family physicians who have adopted electronic health records has more than doubled since 2005, though wide geographic variations exist, according to a report in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Using census survey data from the American Board of Family Medicine maintenance of certification exam and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, researchers predicted that the adoption rate could pass 80% by the end of the year.

In the NAMCS, adoption among family physicians grew to 66.4% in 2011 from 24.8% in 2005. Among physicians undergoing the ABFM’s maintenance of certification, adoption increased to 67.8% in 2011 from 28% in 2005.

The study notes “how federal efforts to increase adoption of EHRs have accelerated in recent years.” It adds that the federal government’s “triple aim” goals to improve population health and healthcare delivery while lowering costs “will require data sharing and exchange that transects all aspects of healthcare delivery and depend in part on widespread adoption of EHRs, particularly by office-based physicians.”

But geographic variations were identified in both data sets. Utah, at 94.9%, had the highest rate of adoption among family physicians seeking maintenance of board certification; while North Dakota had the lowest rate of adoption, 47.1%. For family physicians in the national ambulatory survey, Hawaii had the highest rate of adoption, 87.6%. North Carolina family physicians had the lowest, 44%.

The researchers wrote that there was “strong regional clustering for adoption.” They speculated that states’ commitment varied in their support for health IT funding mechanisms to promote EHR adoption, prescription drug tracking and quality data reporting. Other reasons that could explain the variation included differences in market penetration of health maintenance organizations and the presence of large integrated healthcare organizations.

By Andis Robeznieks

EHR use up among family doctors, but varies by area,” Modern Healthcare (February 5, 2013)


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