CDC: Almost three-fourths of docs using certified EHRs

The percentage of office-based physicians implementing certified electronic health records climbed to 74.1 percent in 2014, up from 67.5 percent in 2013, according to a new data brief published this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

The data brief, based on the National Electronic Health Records Survey, found that EHR adoption varied widely by state, with 58.8 percent of physicians in Alaska using the systems, but 88.6 percent of those in Minnesota doing so, exceeding the national average. Other states where adoption was greater than the national average included Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and South Dakota.

Primary care physicians were more likely to use the EHRs (72.1 percent in 2013 and 78.6 percent in 2014) compared to specialists, with adoption rates of 63.1 percent in 2013 and 70.3 percent in 2014, respectively.

Not surprisingly, physicians with certified EHRs were more likely to share data with others. In 2014, more than one-third of physicians (39.1 percent) were electronically sharing patient health information with any ambulatory providers or hospitals. A larger percentage of physicians with a certified EHR system (47.8 percent) were electronically sharing patient information with any ambulatory providers or hospitals compared with physicians who did not have a certified EHR system (29.7 percent). More than two thirds (70.3 percent) of doctors that didn't have a certified EHR were not sharing patient health information with any ambulatory providers or hospitals compared with physicians with a certified EHR system (52.2 percent). 

In 2014, about a third (32.5 percent) of physicians with certified EHRs were electronically sharing patient health information with external providers, compared to just 16.8 percent of physicians who did not have a certified EHR. Of physicians with such EHRs, 58.8 percent of physicians in North Dakota shared data with unaffiliated providers but only 17.7 percent of those in New Jersey did so. 

About 15 percent of physicians with certified EHRs electronically shared information with home health, long-term care or behavioral health providers in 2014.

The data brief did not provide information that would put some of these numbers in context. For instance, it did not address how the data sharing statistics in 2014 compared to those in 2013, what percentage of physicians attested to Meaningful Use, or whether physicians were becoming more accepting of the systems.

To learn more:
- here's the data brief

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