Small Practices and EHR Adoption by the Numbers

To stay a private practice in this environment, physicians must view their practices as business and evaluate their bottom line. Yet, only half of small practices are using EHR.

Despite continues reports that private practices are a dying breed, there are plenty of physicians out there who refuse to go quietly and become a hospital employee.

According to Kareo, a willingness to change is important — physicians must view their practices as businesses and as such evaluate their bottom line. However, practices with five or fewer providers are hesitant to adopt an electronic health record (EHR). Only half of these small practices have an EHR today.

Kareo reports that of practices with an EHR, only 40% actually meet meaningful use criteria and one of the top concerns about EHR is ease of use.

And yet, of those practices using EHR, 57% report having seen a satisfying return on investment, 57% say EHR makes them more efficient and 74% report that billing is faster and more accurate because of using EHR. Nurses using EHR say documentation time is down by 45%.

One of the increased ROI is an average increase in collections by 9.7% and an increase in revenue of $33,000 per full-time equivalent provider.

According to Kareo, the majority of physicians surveyed believe that using EHR improves patient care: 82% of physicians with a fully functioning EHR report a positive impact on clinical decision quality; and 73% of all physicians believe that HIT will improve long-term quality of care.

More than half of physicians believe that HIT is increasing progress in patient safety and improving quality of care. So even though implementing EHR isn’t cheap, 60% of physicians think that the patient benefits outweigh the adoption costs.

Lastly, patients view EHR favorably. Two-thirds would consider switching to a physician who offers access to medical records through a secure internet connection. When the capability is available, they use it: 80% of Americans who can access their information in an EHR. Lastly, nearly all patients (92%) are happy their doctors ePrescribe.

“Implementing EHR does require investment and commitment, despite the many obvious long-term rewards,” Kareo reports. “Taking this step now can help your private practice stay independent and thrive in the future.”