Many physicians seem to be adopting electronic health record (EHR) systems, and most of the physicians with EHR systems seem to be at least somewhat satisfied with their systems.
Eric Jamoom and other researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have reported that finding in an EHR satisfaction paper posted on the CDC website.
The researchers based their paper on results from a 2011 mail survey of 5,232 office-based physicians who treat ambulatory patients. About 61% of the physicians participated in the survey.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) provides incentives for office-based physicians who make "meaningful use" of EHR systems.
About 55% of the physicians -- and 64% of participating physicians under age 50 -- said they had adopted EHR systems, and about three-quarters said they believed their use of the EHR systems meets the PPACA "meaningful use" standards.
About 47% of the physicians with EHR systems said they are somewhat satisfied with the systems, and 38% said they are very satisfied, the researchers report. Only 5% said they were "very dissatisfied."
About 75% said they believe their use of EHR systems has helped improve patient care.
The researchers found that bigger practices were more likely to have EHR systems.
Only 29% of solo practitionersd said they had EHR systems. Participants' EHR adoption rate was 60% for those in practices with 2 physicians, 62% for practices with 3 to 10 physicians, and 86% for practices with 11 or more physicians.
Just about all physicians in practices owned by health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and 70% of the physicians in academic health center practices said they were using EHR systems.
The researchers gave physicians who do not yet have EHR systems a separate survey.
Only 32% of the non-adopters said they had no intention of buying EHR systems in the next 12 months, and 27% said they intended to buy EHR systems in the next 12 months. About 21% said they already had bought EHR systems but were not yet using the systems. "This finding suggests an increase in EHR adoption is likely to take place in 2012 among 2011's nonadopters, potentially amplifying the impact of federal policy incentives," the researchers say.