By Richard Pizzi, Associate Editor 07/16/07 www.healthitnews.com
A recent survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that the number of family physicians using electronic health records has risen consistently since the AAFP first began measuring EHR usage four years ago.
Half of the 459 respondents to the 2007 EHR survey reported that they had either fully implemented (37 percent) or were in the process of implementing (13 percent) an EHR system at their practice. The survey was mailed to a random sample of 4,000 active AAFP members in April 2007.
In the organization’s 2005 EHR survey, 30 percent of respondents reported that they were using EHRs in their practices. Only two years previously, AAFP’s survey had revealed that ten to 15 percent of AAFP members had adopted the technology.
AAFP’s current survey indicated that physicians who were most likely to have a fully implemented EHR practiced in an urban area, had practiced for seven or fewer years, did not own their practices, and worked in practices with at least two other physicians.
Steven Waldren, M.D. , director of AAFP’s Center for Health Information Technology, said that the EHR features with virtually universal appeal dealt with managing basic patient data, such as problems, medications and allergies, and with improving efficiency and documentation in the practice.
To this end, 99 percent of respondents in the process of implementing an EHR – and 99 percent of those planning to purchase one – said they were interested in using an EHR to manage patient medication lists, manage patient problem lists and display patient summaries.
Sixty percent of those respondents said they would use an e-mail or secure messaging feature in an EHR, and just 49 percent indicated an interest in using an EHR for practice-based research, according to AAFP.
AAFP also noted the following highlights from the 2007 survey:
• 26 percent of respondents said they planned to purchase an EHR in the future;
• 25 percent of respondents indicated they had no plans to implement an EHR in their practice;
• 53 percent of respondents who did not have an EHR cited cost as the reason; and
• 42 percent of respondents who had not implemented an EHR in their practices said they hadn’t done so because they were concerned about decreased productivity.