Office-Based Physicians Are Responding To Incentives And Assistance By Adopting And Using Electronic Health Records

Expanding the use of interoperable electronic health record (EHR) systems to improve health care delivery is a national policy priority.

Researchers used the 2010–2012 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey—Electronic Health Records Survey to examine which physicians in what types of practices are implementing the systems, and how they are using them. They found that 72 percent of physicians had adopted some type of system and that 40 percent had adopted capabilities required for a basic EHR system. The highest relative increases in adoption were among physicians with historically low adoption levels, including older physicians and those working in solo practices or community health centers.

As of 2012, physicians in rural areas had higher rates of adoption than those in large urban areas, and physicians in counties with high rates of poverty had rates of adoption comparable to those in areas with less poverty. However, small practices continued to lag behind larger practices.

Finally, the majority of physicians who adopted the EHR capabilities required to obtain federal financial incentives used the capabilities routinely, with few differences across physician groups.