Fewer than one in five U.S. physicians are using electronic health records, and just 8.6 percent of those in small, office-based practices have adopted the technology, according to a federally funded survey published in the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine. A slim majority of those in large practices-with 50 or more doctors-reported using EHRs in the survey, conducted by the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. Cost, as usual, was the No. 1 reason cited for not migrating from paper, and many respondents blamed the lack of financial incentives for providers to adopt technology.
Among the small share of doctors who actually have EHRs in place, their take on the technology was overwhelmingly positive: 82 percent said EHRs improved the quality their clinical decisions, 86 percent they can reduce medication errors and 85 percent said EHRs enhanced delivery of preventive care.