Physicians Impressed with EHR Technology, HHS Says

Those for and against electronic health records (EHRs) have engaged in a heated public relations battle lately, with government agencies bragging that physicians are embracing the technology at faster-than-expected rates, and detractors simultaneously arguing that physician acceptance of EHRs has been flat and driven primarily by hospital consolidation of physician practices rather than incentive programs.

The latest salvo in the war of words comes from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service (HHS), which claims that nearly three-quarters of physicians who responded to a nationwide survey felt that EHRs improved the quality of care they delivered. Nearly the same percentage (77 percent) of physicians who have adopted EHRs reported that their systems already meet federal “meaningful use” requirements, according to an HHS press release, and 85 percent of physicians who have adopted EHRs said they were somewhat (47 percent) or very (38 percent) satisfied with their EHR system.

“Physicians are increasingly recognizing the importance of electronic health record technology to their patients’ health care and the efficient operation of their practices. When doctors use this secure technology, their patients get better care and more efficient care,” said HHS Secretary Katherine Sebelius.

Nearly half of the physicians currently without an EHR system plan to buy or begin using one already purchased within the next year, according to the report. Per HHS, “This finding suggests that an increase in EHR use is likely in the coming year.”

The survey was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information about the NCHS survey, visit the CDC website.

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