Report: Percentage of docs using ambulatory EHRs down from last year

The percentage of physicians using ambulatory electronic health records has dropped in the past 12 months, according to a report from SK&A.

The new market insights report of physician office usage of EHR software, based on telephone interviews with 290,155 medical offices, found that overall office adoption and use decreased from 62.8 percent in January 2015 to 59 percent in January 2016.

Usage also dropped from 54.5 percent to 50 percent for solo practitioners, from 73 percent to 70.5 percent for groups of three to five physicians, and from 77.2 percent to 75.6 percent for groups of 26 or more physicians.

The only category where usage increased in some physician offices was usage by number of exam rooms on site. While EHR usage dropped from 33.7 percent to 25.4 percent for practices with just one exam room, the percentage increased slightly, from 60.6 percent to 61.3 percent, in offices with two exam rooms, from 66.6 percent to 67 percent where there were three rooms and from 78.8 percent to 79 percent in offices with 11 or more exam rooms.

Specialties that used EHRs the most were internal medicine/pediatrics, urology, radiology, family practice and pathology. The top four states with the highest adoption rates included Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah and Iowa.

Overall Epic had the highest market share at 12.4 percent, followed by eClinicalWorks at 10.3 percent, Allscripts at 8.2 percent and Practice Fusion at 6.5 percent.

The report does not say why the percentages fell, but a spokesperson for SK&A told FierceEMR that many of the new 9,000 new respondents added this year were small practices that either didn't use EHRs or didn't know whether they did so, and that the actual number of EHR users was "probably stable." Other studies have indicated that doctors' frustrations with the systems are rising, particularly where vendors appear not to address the need to improve them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in January that the percentage of office based physicians had climbed to 74.1 percent, but based its report on 2014 data.

To learn more:
- download the report