Report on Survey of Physician Adoption of Electronic Health Records

Release of NEJM Study

Health information technology (HIT) has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of health care. This report considers in particular the growth of electronic health records—a common example of HIT—and how it might affect the cost and quality of health care.

Health information technology (HIT) refers to a variety of electronic methods used to manage information about people's health and health care. This report expands on the findings of an earlier report—Health Information Technology in the United States—from 2006 that examined the barriers to widespread HIT adoption and the challenges faced in accurately measuring it. The authors provide new survey data from general physicians and from those serving vulnerable populations, while exploring methods to evaluate the effects of HIT on cost and quality of health care. The chapters of the report focus on a range of topics that include an economic analysis of HIT, the state of HIT internationally, and patients' experiences with electronic health records (EHR) and personal health records.

Key Findings:

  • 13 percent more physicians are using EHR since 2006;
  • there is no significant association between EHR use and quality of care;
  • providers who serve vulnerable populations are no less likely to provide HIT enhanced care than other providers; and
  • several developed nations are approaching universal implementation of EHR systems.

The type of data generated by HIT and EHR can help providers better understand disparities in health care quality and may improve the patient experience and medical outcomes.

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