Physicians cite worries over EMRs, health reform

Many physicians appear to be anxious not only about how healthcare reform will roll out in the next several years, but how EMRs will be implemented and used, according to a new nationwide survey conducted by Thomson Reuters and HCPLexus.

The 2011 National Physicians Survey contacted nearly 3,000 physicians last fall, who were asked questions about their opinions on healthcare reform, including the impact of EMRs. The physicians identified both positives and negatives about EMRs--including privacy and security issues and the impact on the physician-patient relationship.

Opinions over EMRs were evenly split, with 39 percent saying that the technology would help patients, and 37 percent responding that the effect would be neutral. Twenty-four percent said they thought that EMRs would have a negative effect. Practitioners who care for patients longitudinally--and who were less procedurally oriented--were more positive about their use, according to the survey.

Among surgeons surveyed, orthopaedic surgeons had the most divergent responses among physicians on the topic of EMRs--with the least positive, but the most neutral responses, when asked about how EMRs will affect the quality of patient care: Just under 40 percent thought the effect would be positive, while 42 percent indicated the effect would be neutral.

Overall, two-thirds (65 percent) of surveyed physicians thought that the quality of healthcare will decline over the next five years, 18 percent said it will improve, and 17 percent believe it will remain the same.

For more details:
- see the survey executive summary or the full report (reg. required)
- read the article in Becker's Hospital Review