One-third of office-based physicians have a "basic" electronic health records or electronic medical records system, according to preliminary figures from the federal 2011 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

A "basic" system supports patient history and demographics, problem lists, physician clinical notes, comprehensive medication and allergy lists, computerized orders for prescriptions, and viewing laboratory and imaging results electronically.

Beyond the nearly 34 percent of responding physicians with a basic system, 57 percent say they have "any EMR/EHR system," defined as a medical or health record that is all or partially electronic. A year ago, about 51 percent reported having any records system and 25 percent said they had a basic EHR/EMR. Figures for 2010 and 2011 are preliminary, representing the returned mail surveys but excluding in-person surveys.

In 2009, the last year with complete data available, just over 48 percent of surveyed physicians had "any system" and 22 percent had a basic EMR/EHR.

Physician adoption of electronic records varied widely according to state, ranging from 40 percent in Louisiana to 84 percent in North Dakota for any system, and from 16 percent in New Jersey to 61 percent in Minnesota for a basic EHR/EMR.

Fifty-two percent of physicians responding to the survey in 2011 expected to apply for electronic records meaningful use incentive payments, up from 41 percent in 2010. More survey results are available here.


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