Electronic Health Records in Ambulatory Care - A National Survey of Physicians

from 2008: The Year in Research

While there is growing support for the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in the ambulatory care setting, only a small number of surveyed physicians are currently using these.

What researchers found: Only a small minority (17%) of U.S. physicians had implemented EHRs in their office setting, with only 4 percent of physicians reporting the use of a fully functional system. Physicians who were younger, worked in large or primary care practices, worked in hospitals or medical centers, and lived in the western region of the United States were most likely to use information technology. Physicians with EHRs reported positive impact on their practices; those with fully functioning systems reported the most positive impact.

Why we chose this publication: This study provides benchmark information for policy-makers who seek to incorporate the use of EHRs in their health care reform proposals. Although stakeholders agree that this technology improves the quality of care, high costs and limited infrastructures in small practices hinder adoption nationwide.

What researchers studied: From late 2007 through early 2008, approximately 2,758 physicians (62% response rate) completed a national survey that assessed their usage of outpatient electronic health records, perceived effects on quality of care, and barriers to adoption.

Publication information:
"Electronic Health Records in Ambulatory Care—A National Survey of Physicians"
DesRoches CM,Campbell EG, Rao SR, Donelan K, Ferris TG, Jha A, Kaushal R, Levy DE, Rosenbaum S, Shields AE, Blumenthal D
New England Journal of Medicine, 359: 50–60, July 2008.