Office-based docs increasingly using advanced EHR systems

More office-based physicians than ever are adopting advanced electronic health records that can meet Meaningful Use requirements, according to new research from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

For the brief, "Physician Adoption of Electronic Health Record Technology to Meet Meaningful Use Objectives: 2009-2012," ONC researchers conducted an in-depth analysis of last week's findings on physician EHR use released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

They found that since HITECH began, physician adoption of EHRs to meet five Meaningful Core objectives--such as electronic prescribing, computerized provider order entry and drug interaction checks--has increased by at least 66 percent. Additionally, the capability to meet four other Meaningful Use core objectives grew from 66 percent to 90 percent. In just the last year, physician adoption of EHRs to meet nine core objectives increased by at least 21 percent.

Physician adoption of EHRs to meet selected Meaningful Use Stage 1 menu objectives and Stage 2 objectives increased significantly, as well. For example, recording electronic notes in a patient's record grew from 44 percent in 2009 to 73 percent in 2012.

The brief also reported greater use of EHRs to communicate with patients.

"Physician adoption of EHR technology to engage with patients and their families has also substantially increased," the researchers wrote. "In 2012, over half of physicians had the capability to meet Meaningful Use objectives of providing patients with clinical summaries after each visit [56 percent] and electronic copies of their health information [51 percent]. From 2011 to 2012, physicians' capability for secure messaging with patients increased by 40 percent."

Patient engagement is an area receiving increased attention, with calls for increased patient engagement in Stage 3 of Meaningful Use amid concerns that providers will not be able to meet the requirements.

To learn more:
- here's the ONC brief
Read the NCHS brief