EMR use inches up in physician offices

Another week, another study on EMR adoption.

On Wednesday--the first anniversary of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act--Irvine, Calif.-based research firm SK&A published a report saying that 36.1 percent of physician offices have some form of electronic medical record. That's 3.2 percentage points greater than the 32.9 percent adoption rate reported in February 2009.

Those numbers may seem high, based on studies in esteemed academic publications such as the New England Journal of Medicine, but they are in line with the findings from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. It's also worth noting that SK&A had a huge sample size of 180,000 physician offices in the U.S.

It's no surprise that adoption rates seem to be related to number of physicians, number of exam rooms in the office and daily patient volume, with larger practices more likely to have EMRs. Practices owned by integrated health systems tend to have greater EMR usage as well, slightly above 50 percent. Given that primary care is increasingly burdened with high patient loads and starved for cash, general practice was near the bottom in terms of EMR adoption, SK&A reports. Dialysis, critical care and radiology reported the highest EMR usage rates.

For further details:
- take a look this Medicine and Technology post
- see this SK&A press release
- read the full report, embedded in the Healthcare IT Guy blog