Solo Practices Lead EHR Adoption Growth

Solo physician practices reported a huge increase in electronic health record adoption from 2013 to 2014, while the rate at large offices remained mostly flat.

Solo physician practices reported a huge increase in electronic health record (EHR) adoption from 2013 to 2014, while the rate at large offices remained mostly flat, according to a new report.

The annual “Physician Office Usage of Electronic Health Records Software” report from SK&A, A Cegedim Company, revealed that usage of EHRs in physician offices increased by more than 10 percentage points in solo and smaller practices. At single-doctor offices, EHR adoption increased by 11.4%, from 42.3% to 53.7%.

“What has accelerated the adoption of electronic health records among smaller practices is the availability of more than 450 different solutions to fit their practice needs, size and budget,” Jack Schember, senior director of marketing for SK&A, A Cegedim Company, said in a statement.

While large practices still have a much higher overall adoption, the change year over year was much smaller. The adoption rate for practices with 26 or more physicians increased by 1.6%, from 75.9% to 77.5%.

According to the results from the survey, adoption rate rises along with the number of exam rooms at a practice and the number of physicians practicing. Offices with 3 to 5 practicing physicians had an adoption rate of 69.6%. Sites with one exam room have a 39.7% adoption rate, while offices with 11-plus rooms have an adoption rate of 74.8%.

Integrated Health Systems reported the highest rate of all site ownership, with the adoption rate jumping from 63.4% a year ago to 71.4%. According to SK&A, Integrated Health Systems had a substantially higher adoption rate than their non-health-systems-owned counterparts.

“The healthcare IT community responded well to the opportunity presented by the EHR adoption incentives offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by providing a variety of options to physicians with relatively easy implementation and training support,” Schember said. “Physicians also realize they have a limited window of opportunity to take advantage of federal reimbursements by showing ‘meaningful use’ of digital record-keeping technology.”

Physician practices with more patient volume were also more likely to adopt an EHR. Offices with a daily patient volume of 50 or fewer patients had a 57.5% adoption rate, while offices with 101-plus patients reported an adoption rate of 76.3%.

The practice’s specialty also correlated with adoption rate. Physician specialties with the highest adoption rates were: dialysis (80.6%); internal medicine/pediatrics (75.8%); nephrology (70.5%); and pathology (69.4%).