Wave of U.S. physicians plan to adopt EMR

Just how fast EMRs might spread among U.S. physician groups, given the push of federal regulations, is mind-blowing. But at least smaller physician groups hope for, and appear to need, some major help from their hospital partners, according to a new survey.

Accenture, teaming up with Harris Interactive and the New York Academy of Medicine, surveyed 1,000 U.S. physicians in smaller group practices ( those with fewer than 10 practitioners). If the survey results bear out, within two years, almost 65 percent of those groups will have bought an EMR system. Just 15 percent of survey respondents currently have one. Of the about 850 who don't, 58 percent said they would purchase an EMR in two years. 

Current non-users hope for more help than just federal incentive payments. The majority liked the idea of buying an EMR from a local hospital or health network, but on average would expect the hospital or health network to subsidize about half the cost. And survey results hint that even more help, in terms of implementation assistance, might be a good idea. Physicians tended to underestimate the expense and time needed to implement EMRs, but also saw EMRs as more difficult to use than they generally are.

Interestingly, EMR adoption appears to be a case of the "stick" being more powerful than the "carrot." Some 61 percent of survey respondents cited federal penalties for non-adoption as a motive for buying an EMR, compared with 51 percent who cited federal incentives.

For more:
- read the Accenture press release