Half of providers said to have EMRs, but many docs fear intrusion

Finally, someone in the mainstream media is starting to get it.

"There's an argument that we're eventually going to look back at the stimulus bill's investment in electronic medical records as the most important improvement the Obama administration made to the healthcare delivery system--and, if the more optimistic assessments are right, as a crucial piece of infrastructure that allowed us to eventually get costs under control," Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein wrote earlier this week.

Klein was commenting on a new study from IT industry trade group CompTIA, which suggests that half of all healthcare providers now have some form of EMR. The Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based organization says that 34 percent of providers report using a "comprehensive" EMR, while another 16 percent say they have partial systems. Only 20 percent of those surveyed say they are not considering EMRs.

Those reluctant to go full-bore into electronic records were more likely to cite disruption of the personal relationship between physician and patient than to express concerns over privacy and security of the data, Politico reports. And 79 percent of physicians queried say they need more training on EMR technology. Many also want better reliability and reduced costs for future IT investments.

Mobility may be a driving force behind continued EMR adoption, CompTIA says in its second annual assessment of the health IT marketplace, About a quarter of physicians and dentists surveyed indicate that they plan on purchasing some kind of tablet PC in the next 12 months.

"Healthcare providers have clear objectives for their IT investments--reducing costs, saving time, improving productivity and most importantly, improving patient care," Tim Herbert, vice president for research at CompTIA says in a press release. "Anything that may disrupt patient care is a serious issue, so product reliability is especially critical."

To learn more:
- read Klein's Washington Post column
- see this Politico story
- view this CompTIA press release

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