Survey: Patients Report Their Doctors are Increasing Use of Electronic Health Records on the One-Year Anniversary of ARRA

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The health IT landscape has changed fundamentally in the first year since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law.  American patients are seeing their doctors make the switch to Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, according to a survey conducted by GfK Roper for Practice Fusion, the fastest growing EHR community in the US.  Practice Fusion also found widespread expansion of the health IT sector, demand for an estimated 100,000 new jobs, creation of higher education programs and signs of disruptive innovation, all detailed in a new whitepaper entitled The ARRA Stimulus Plan in Action.

"ARRA's $19 billion for health information technology has effectively created a black swan.   During a deep recession, the health IT sector is booming and how we think about health data is being fundamentally redefined," said Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion. "I see the change in the exponential growth of our company.  Doctors see it through the availability of innovative new technology.  Educators see it through grants and the creation of new health IT courses.  Patients see it in their doctor's office."

Of the patients surveyed, 48.4 percent reported that during their last visit to a primary care physician or specialist, the doctor stored their medical records digitally on a computer in the examination room, as opposed to paper charts.  The Practice Fusion patient survey on EHR adoption also found that:

  • Of patients who reported that their doctor used a computer during their last visit, 45.2 percent said their doctor made the switch to an electronic system during the previous two years;  14.3 percent said the switch occurred in just the last six months.
  • Patients who reported their doctors did not use a computer were split on their doctor adopting the technology.  Of these respondents, 38.4 percent wanted their doctor to "go digital," while 32.7 percent did not and 28.9 percent were not sure.
  • More women (52.8 percent) than men (43.7 percent) reported EHR use by their doctors.
  • Higher income patients saw greater EHR use by their doctors; 52.9 percent for respondents with incomes over $50,000 a year compared to 45.2 percent for those with incomes under $20,000 a year. 

Raw results from the patient survey are available upon request, along with local physician, IT professional and educator sources.  The free whitepaper, ARRA Stimulus Plan in Action: Case Studies from the Health Technology Sector, is now available online.  And there will be a live media webinar today - February 10, 2010 - at 1:00 pm EST covering the patient survey and the anniversary of ARRA from the perspective of the health IT sector.

Survey methodology

The Practice Fusion survey was conducted from February 5-7, 2010, by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, via random digit dialing phone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adult interview subjects aged 18 or older nationwide.  The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus three percentage points.

About Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion provides a free, web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) system to physicians.  With charting, scheduling, e-prescribing, billing, lab integrations, unlimited support and a Personal Health Record for patients, Practice Fusion's EHR addresses the complex needs of today's healthcare providers and disrupts the health IT status quo.  Practice Fusion is the fastest growing EHR community in country with more than 28,000 users in 50 states.  The company is backed by salesforce.com and Morgenthaler Ventures.  For more information on Practice Fusion, please visit practicefusion.com.

About ARRA

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law a plan for economic recovery designed to pull the United States out of a deep recession.  Encompassing $789 billion in funding for stimulus programs, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included $19 billion under the HITECH Act to promote the adoption of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology in healthcare.  Individual doctors and eligible medical providers can receive $44,000 or more for "Meaningful Use" of an EHR system starting in 2011.

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