Electronic Record Adoption Slow

Article

According to the results of a new study, electronic health records just aren't catching on in the medical community. Only 4% of physicians have adopted a full EHR system.

A new survey says that only 4% of physicians have switched to electronic health records. Why such a slow pace of adoption? Cost and complexity.

According to the results of a new study, electronic health records just aren't catching on in the medical community. Only 4% of physicians have adopted a full EHR system, with an additional 13% taking a more basic route with a less complicated and incomplete system.

The survey polled some 2,758 physicians. Fully two thirds said that the expense and complexity of the systems involved were the biggest roadblocks preventing adoption. Another determining factor is the size of the practice. According to a Reuters article, "Practices that had more than 50 physicians were three times more likely to have a basic system as those in very small practices -- those with three physicians or fewer."

I find it interesting that larger practices, which you might think could have the funds to afford EHR systems, are the slower set to adopt. It turns out the smaller practices are taking the lead here, probably because of their flexibility. That's not to say it is any easier to install or manage. Smaller practices simply have fewer people involved in the decision-making process, which we all know often leads to quicker turn-around on taking action.

EHR systems can benefit practices in a number of ways, including preventing adverse drug reactions, speeding up prescription refills, and allowing patients to have a say--or at least access--in what is posted on their medical records.

What's most disconcerting is that the slow adoption clearly indicates that President George W. Bush's mandate that all Americans should have EHRs by 2014 is a long way form happening. A better goal might be to insure the uninsured by 2014...

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