Younger doctors expect to use EHRs

It appears our neighbors to the north are going through similar growing pains regarding electronic health record adoption by older doctors, according to a new survey. The National Physician Survey, Canada's largest survey of physicians and physicians in training, found that while residents and younger providers expect to use EHRs upon graduation, 39 percent of current physicians are using EHRs, while 37.6 percent of docs choose to only use paper.

The survey, published September 28, found that 78.6 percent of all residents have used or been exposed to EHRs as part of their medical training. What's more, 81.5 percent of family medicine residents expect to use EHRs rather than paper records when they go into practice, an increase from 75 percent in 2007 (the last time the NPS survey was conducted). More than 2,500 residents responded to the survey.   

Doctors in the U.S. still are relatively slow to adopt electronic health records due to issues like privacy and cost, as well, but a survey of 710 medical students conducted last year by Epocrates found that such hesitation could be on the decline; 70 percent of the students surveyed indicated that the availability of an EHR system would be "very important" in deciding where to ultimately practice.

"As new doctors enter the work force, they bring new approaches to the practice of medicine," Dr. John Haggie, President of the Canadian Medical Association, said in a statement. "They understand intuitively that they can provide high quality, patient‐centered care through the use of new technology and other tools. We need to be open to changing how health care is delivered. The impact of the new electronic tools will be particularly evident in the rural areas."

The NPS is Canada's largest survey of physicians and physicians in training, reaching out to 90,000 individuals throughout the country.

To learn more:
- here's NPS' press release (.pdf) 
- check out the entire survey
- read this blog post