EHR Adoption Increasing Among Solo and Small Practices

Results of a telephone survey of 270,036 U.S. medical sites by healthcare research firm SK&A reveals that the EHR adoption rate for single-doctor offices grew 11.4 percent from 42.3 percent to 53.7 percent over the prior year.

The adoption rate for offices with 26 or more doctors increased only 1.6 percent, from 75.9 percent to 77.5 percent. Overall, the rate of EHR adoption grew from 50.3 percent to 61 percent compared to the previous year. 

“What has accelerated the adoption of electronic health records among smaller practices is the availability of more than 450 different solutions to fit their practice needs, size and budget,” said Jack Schember, senior director of marketing for SK&A, in a written statement. “The healthcare IT community responded well to the opportunity presented by the EHR adoption incentives offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by providing a variety of options to physicians with relatively easy implementation and training support. Physicians also realize they have a limited window of opportunity to take advantage of federal reimbursements by showing ‘meaningful use’ of digital record-keeping technology.”

Among other findings of the survey:

* EHR adoption among integrated delivery systems jumped to 71.4 percent from 63.4 percent a year ago.

* EHR adoption rises as the number of physicians practicing at each site rises. Offices with three to five practicing physicians had 69.6 percent adoption, while offices with 11 to 25 practicing physicians had 78.1 percent adoption.

* EHR adoption rises as the number of exam rooms at each site rises. Offices with one exam room had 39.7 percent adoption, while offices with 11-plus exam rooms had 74.8 percent adoption.

* EHR adoption rises as the average daily patient volume at each site rises. Offices with average daily patient volumes of 1-50 patients had 57.5 percent adoption, while offices with 101-plus patients had 76.3 percent adoption.

* Physician specialties with the highest adoption rates are dialysis (80.6 percent), internal medicine/pediatrics (75.8 percent), nephrology (70.5 percent), and pathology (69.4 percent).

* Top five states for EHR adoption are Utah (71.6 percent), South Dakota (71.2 percent), Wyoming (71 percent), Iowa (70.8 percent), and North Dakota (69.2 percent).

SK&A has an ongoing multi-year contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to track adoption rates.


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