Family Docs Are Early Adopters of Electronic Health Records

Sixty-eight percent currently use EHR systems; likely to surpass 80 percent by 2013

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Family practice physicians are adopting electronic health record (EHR) systems at a fast pace, with 68 percent using an EHR system by 2011, and 80 percent expected to be users by 2013, according to research published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Imam M. Xierali, Ph.D., of the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and colleagues analyzed data from the American Board of Family Medicine and National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to better understand how family physicians adopt EHR systems.

The researchers found that, nationally, 68 percent of family physicians have adopted an EHR system, with similar rates obtained using both databases. In fact, compared with other office-based physicians as a group, family physicians are adopting EHR systems at a higher rate. Geographical and regional/statewide variability does exist, however.

"Two independent data sets yielded convergent results, showing that adoption of EHRs by family physicians has doubled since 2005, exceeds other office-based physicians as a group, and is likely to surpass 80 percent by 2013," the authors write. "Now that EHRs are common, important research is both increasingly plausible and essential to determine how EHRs can improve health care and population health and help contain costs."

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