U.S. Primary Care Physician Adoption of EMRs Increases 50%, Still Lags Other Countries

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Primary care physicians in multiple countries have made progress in the use of health information technology in healthcare practices, particularly physicians in the United States, according to a survey published in HealthAffairs.

Physicians from 10 countries completed the survey this year: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey consisted of interviews with primary care physicians using a common questionnaire from a 2009 survey. To examine current rates of adoption and the diversity of capacity, the survey asked about basic electronic medical records and included 15 questions about functions that HIT systems potentially provide.

Key findings from the survey include:

• Physician practices in all 10 countries have been investing in HIT to provide information tools and decision support, with Canada and the United States most recently enacting national policies to spur the spread and use of HIT.

• There was a substantial increase in the United States in use and multifunctional capacity compared with 2009. The United States still lags behind countries with near-universal adoption, such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, but there has been a 50 percent increase in the rates of use of EMRs.

• Across countries, most physicians with EMRs reported the ability to generate patient and panel information, and they routinely use electronic order entry for lab tests and prescription drugs.

• The share of U.S. practices reporting multifunctional capacity of EHRs is 27 percent.

• The electronic exchange of patient information is not yet the norm in any country. In the United States, the capacity for electronic exchange of patient information is concentrated in larger practices and those in integrated health systems.

More Articles on Health IT Adoption by Physicians:

6 Tips for Easing Staff Adjustments During Hospital HIT Implementations
Survey: Physicians Lag in Providing Patients With Online Access to Data
Security Fears Blunt Patient Acceptance of EHRs

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