Survey: Doc EHR adoption leveling off

Physician adoption of electronic health records appears to have plateaued, only increasing 2.8 percent from January 2014 to January 2015, according to the latest survey from SK&A.

The survey of SK&A's database found EHR adoption at 62.8 percent, a slight increase from 61 percent in January 2014. In contrast, SK&A found physician use increased 10.7 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Not surprisingly, the larger the practice, the higher the adoption rates, with 77.2 percent of physicians in medical groups of 26 or more using EHRs, compared to 54.5 percent of solo practitioners. About 70 percent of doctors in hospital- or health system-owned practices used EHRs, compared to 60 percent of independent practices.

Internal medicine/pediatrics edged out radiology as the specialty with the highest adoption rate. In 2014 internal medicine/pediatrics was second to Dialysis. The specialty with the lowest adoption rate in 2015 was forensic psych. 

Rural states had the highest adoption rates. Wyoming had the highest, with 73.9 percent, followed by South Dakota, Utah, Iowa and Arkansas. The bottom states included New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and Rhode Island.

More than 500 EHR vendors were represented. Epic had the overall highest market share with 11.6 percent, followed by eClinicalworks Logan Solutions, Allscripts and Practice Fusion.

The survey did not address why physician EHR adoption appeared to be stabilizing or whether doctors were happy with their systems. Recent evidence suggests that while EHRs have benefits, they are not universally accepted because they lack functionality, increase administrative workloads and are difficult to use.

While switching systems may improve functionality and the chances of successfully attesting to Meaningful Use, it does not necessarily increase physicians' satisfaction, especially if they were not part of the decision to change systems.

To learn more:
- access the study (.pdf)