Survey: EHRs Often Don't Increase Doc Productivity

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A large online survey of medical practices with nearly 4,600 responses finds no consensus that electronic health records systems increase physician productivity.

The survey found 72 percent of responding EHR owners are satisfied with the overall system. But only 26.5 percent of those surveyed say physician productivity has increased, while nearly 31 percent experienced a productivity decrease and 43 percent reported no change.

The Medical Group Management Association conducted the survey in October and early November of 2010 with funding from PNC Bank. Fifty-nine percent of respondents were from independent practices, 22 percent from academic- or hospital-owned practices and most of the rest from other types of ambulatory practices. Other survey findings:

* While 80 percent of practices that have adopted EHRs intend to go for meaningful use incentives, only about 14 percent felt they were currently able to meet all criteria.

* Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported total practice operating costs increased after EHR implementation, 26 percent said costs decreased and 36 percent experienced no change.

* Aspects of hospital or delivery system ownership may slow EHR adoption or integration with other technologies. About 20 percent of independent practices with an EHR were in the implementation stage, compared with nearly 34 percent of hospital-owned practices reporting an EHR.

* Almost half of independent practices with an EHR were at the time of the survey focused on optimizing use of the technology.

Click here for MGMA's report, "Electronic Health Records: Status Needs and Lessons."

--Joseph Goedert


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