EHR adoption by family docs could hit 80% this year

Family physicians are embracing electronic health records, with adoption rates at nearly 68 percent in 2011 that likely could climb as high as 80% in 2013, according to a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Association of American Medical Colleges and elsewhere, analyzed two separate sets of data. The researchers not only found that adoption rates soared among family physicians over a six-year time span--doubling from 2005 to 2011--but that those rates were "significantly" higher than adoption rates for other office-based physicians.

Still, adoption rates varied widely across states, with the highest adoption rates in Utah and Hawaii and the lowest in North Carolina and North Dakota. Reasons for the variation were unknown, but the researchers speculated that they may have included different levels in states' commitment for supporting EHR adoption; the amount of HMO penetration; and/or the size of physician practices in different states.

"Whatever the explanation, the interstate variability could help identify areas for targeted interventions," the researchers suggested.

The study's results mirror those of other some recent studies on physician adoption of EHRs. A recent data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics reported that 72 percent of office-based physicians were using some form of EHR in 2012, an increase of 26 percent from 2011, but that adoption rates varied widely by state.   

To learn more:
- here's the study