Physician Use of EMR/EHR Statistics
Despite the federal push for healthcare organizations to adopt effective, meaningful use EMRs/EHRs by 2014 to replace paper records, the latest statistics from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) show that physicians are lagging in implementing a viable system at their practices.
In 2010, only 10.1 percent of office-based physicians have a fully functional EMR/EHR system in place, up 32 percent in 2009. Nearly 25 percent have adopted a basic system, showing a minor increase from the 22 percent in 2009. Additionally, 50 percent of office-based physicians have any type of EMR/EHR system, although not fully functional.
According to the scholarly publication by the National Center for Health Statistics accompanying the survey, ‘fully functional’ is defined as systems with the following basic functionalities:
- Patient demographic information
- Patient problem lists
- Clinical notes
- Orders for prescriptions
- Viewing laboratory and imaging results
- Medical history and follow-up
- Orders for tests
- Prescription and test orders sent electronically
- Drug interactions or contraindications warnings
- Highlighting out-of-range test levels
- Electronic images returned
- Reminders for guideline-based interventions
The need for EMR/EHR awareness and technical support is growing at a rapid pace, demanding more clinical IT staff training and additional resources. With the advent of electronic systems, data protection and security concerns become paramount, as the Department of Health and Human Services has indicated with its latest investment in HIPAA compliance enforcement and scheduled, ongoing HIPAA audits.
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