Survey Finds Big Uptick in EHR Adoption Among Small Medical Practices

Small medical offices with just one or two physicians comprise the fastest-growing segment for the adoption of electronic health record systems, according to a report by SK&A, a subsidiary of the health care technology and services company Cegedim, CMIO reports.

The report, titled, "Physician Office Usage of EHR Software," is based on SK&A's ongoing telephone survey of 240,281 medical sites.

Main Findings

The report found that during the second half of 2011:

  • The EHR adoption rate for solo practices increased by six percentage points, from 30.8% to 36.9%; and
  • The EHR adoption rate for practices with six to 10 physicians increased by two percentage points, from 63% to 65% (Byers, CMIO, 3/8).

SK&A said the new report marks the first time that EHR adoption rates were found to be rising at a faster pace among solo and small medical practices than among larger medical practices (SK&A release, 3/7).

Additional Findings

Although EHR adoption rates are rising quickly among small practices, overall EHR adoption rates still are higher among practices with more physicians, the survey found.

Researchers noted that practices with more than 26 physicians had an average EHR adoption rate of 77.2%, while offices with between three and five physicians had an average EHR adoption rate of 54.9%.

In addition, the report found that practices with more exam rooms and greater average daily patient volumes tend to have higher EHR adoption rates than practices with fewer exam rooms and lower average daily patient volumes.

The survey also found that EHR adoption rates vary based on a practice's specialty. According to the report, the specialties with the highest EHR adoption rates are:

  • Dialysis, with 68.4% of practices having an EHR system in place;
  • Pathology, with 66.2% having an EHR system in place;
  • Nuclear medicine, with 64.2% having an EHR system in place; and
  • Radiology, with 62.8% having an EHR system in place (CMIO, 3/8).

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