EHRs getting mixed reviews in North Carolina

Physician adoption of ambulatory electronic health records is increasing in the North Carolina Triangle area--Duke University, UNC Health Care and WakeMed--but not all physicians are embracing the technology with open arms, according to an article in the News & Observer.

Nearly three-fourths of physicians in the region have adopted EHRs, according to the article. While some physicians "swear by the technology" and say that using EHRs improves the patient care they provide, others report that adoption of EHRs is not going as well as anticipated.

Some of the problems outlined included the disruption and downtime incurred during the transition from paper records to EHRs, the cost of the systems and lack of interoperability. Physicians with EHRs that have been discontinued--such as Allscripts' MyWay EHR product--are particularly frustrated. Allscripts announced the discontinuation of MyWay last month.

Adding to the problem is that the three aforementioned health systems are using a patchwork of EHR systems rather than one single system. For example, WakeMed uses 130 different EHR system components, according to the article.

The region, however, is marching toward further EHR use, as hospitals such as UNC opt to invest in a single EHR system and the incentive program makes the transition to being "no longer optional."

Other reports have noted that despite the speed bumps, EHR adoption rates continue to rise. A recent CapSite study found 69 percent of doctors surveyed had implemented an EHR. What's more, a Medscape survey from August found that 82 percent of responding physicians either used an EHR, or were in the process of adopting one.

To learn more:
- here's the News & Observer article