September 18, 2015 Owen Carey

Certified EHR Technology Use Reaches 74% of Physicians

New data published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology shows high levels of office-based physician EHR use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT) and even greater EHR adoption numbers in 2014.

The most recent ONC data brief puts the percentage of office-based physician CEHRT users at 74 percent as compared to 51 percent using a basic EHR and a total of 83 percent using any type of EHR technology.

Of those physician EHR users with CEHRTs, more than half (56%) have plans to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs although one-third that number (18%) have no plans or remain unsure as to their participation in meaningful use.

As for the basic EHR functionalities being used by office-based physicians, the figures hovered around 80 percent with the exception of viewing imaging results. Less than two-thirds of office-based physician EHR users reported have the ability to view imaging results electronically, 25-percentage points fewer than the most common computerized functionalities of recording demographic information (86%) and computerized prescription order entry (85%). Other functionalities topping the 80-percent mark were:

  • Recording patient’s medications and allergies (84%)
  • Recording clinical notes (83%)
  • Recording patient problem lists (82%)

Based on specialty, primary care physicians reported the highest rates of EHR adoption across all types of EHR technology — 87 percent. Medical specialists and surgical specialists were not too far behind at 80 percent and 78 percent, respectively, and equal in terms of physician CEHRT users (70%).

Generally an indicator of EHR adoption, practice size proved to be a significant differentiator in 2014 for office-based physician EHR adoption.

Solo practitioners reported the lowest percent of EHR adoption across the board, at a total of 64 percent for all EHR technology and 55 percent for CEHRT. The highest percentage of EHR adoption was reported by practices of 11 or more physicians, 97 percent of which had adopted EHR technology of any type and 86 percent of CEHRT. Sandwiched between these two sets of physicians were 6-10 physician practices and 2-5 physician practices.

A rather ambiguous finding in the report deals with physician EHR adoption by practice setting:

  • 98 percent of physicians in community health centers had adopted EHR technology; 76 percent CEHRT
  • 44 percent of physicians in community health centers and physician or group-owned practices were using all Basic EHR functionalities
  • Physicians in physician- or group-owned practices reported the lowest EHR adoption rates across all EHR types
  • HMO-owned or other healthcare corporation-owned physician practices reported the highest adoption rates of certified EHRs at 87%

“These findings may be related to the fact that the Basic EHR definition includes functionalities that apply primarily to certain physician specialties and may not be broadly applicable across the care continuum,” the ONC report states.

This article originally appeared here.

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