CDC survey will review physician adoption of EMRs

In its annual National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be sending nearly 5,500 physicians a supplemental survey to measure the adoption and impact of electronic medical records (EMRs) in their practices.

The survey reviews office visits made by ambulatory patients to non-Federal office-based physicians (excluding those in the specialties of anesthesiology, radiology, and pathology) who are engaged in direct patient care.

This survey size could expand by another 1,000 physicians--and 30,000 visit records--if Congress approves a fiscal 2011 budget increases for the survey requested by President Obama. NCHS also could increase the sample by another 500 physicians funded through the Affordable Care Act.

"These increases will greatly improve the ability to track providers' practice patterns, including their adoption and meaningful use of health information technology," a CDC notice published Feb. 11 in the Federal Register says.

A supplemental mail survey on the adoption and use of EMRs in physician offices was added to the CDC survey in 2008, and it will continue, according to Health Data Management. However, the scope of the survey is expanding in 2011: It will collect information and characteristics of physician practices and how  EMRs are used in those practices, the notice says.

In addition, the mail survey will ask about physician workflow before and after EMR implementation. The EMR workflow mail survey, sponsored by Office of the National Coordinator, will evaluate the progress of "meeting the President's goal for most Americans to have access to an interoperable electronic health record by 2014," according to the notice.

For more information:
- see the Federal Register notice
- read the Health Data Management story