Physician-owned, multispecialty practices reported a nearly 12 percent increase in total operating costs associated with technology in 2014 compared to 2013, according to a new survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association.

Technology spending per full-time equivalent physician last year was $20,693. Since 2010, this number has increased by almost 34 percent per FTE physician, “showing how much impact the technology boom and mandated electronic health records has had on individual practices,” concludes MGMA.

Overall, MGMA’s annual cost and revenue survey of more than 3,100 groups finds medical practices are leveraging technology at a greater level to improve the quality of patient care by improving records management, optimizing workflow and meeting HIPAA compliancy requirements.

“There’s been an increase in investment over the last several years as it relates to electronic health records,” says MGMA Chief Operating Officer Todd Evenson, which he said is “consistent with the environment under Meaningful Use to attest.”

Also See: MGMA Says Extend 2015 Reporting Period or Stage 2 Will Fail

Evenson also sees practices investing in technology beyond EHRs to improve access and increase quality of care. As the healthcare industry moves from fee-for-service to value-based models, he believes they will embrace population health management with “investments in software technologies and other areas that can help practices meet those demands and needs.” 

The MGMA survey did not assess EHR satisfaction levels among practices. However, other recent industry surveys have shown that despite widespread EHR adoption doctors are dissatisfied with the technology.

Survey results released last month by AmericanEHR Partners—conducted on behalf of the American Medical Association—revealed that compared to five years ago, more physicians are reporting being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their EHR system. In particular, the survey of 940 physicians found that only 34 percent of doctors were satisfied or very satisfied with their EHR system in 2014, down from 62 percent in 2010.

In the survey, 72 percent believed their EHR’s ability to decrease workload was difficult or very difficult; 54 percent said their EHR system increased their total operating costs; and 43 percent indicated they had yet to overcome the productivity challenges related to their EHR.

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