- Office-based cardiologists have the highest rate of EHR adoption, at 95.6%, followed by neurologists, at 94.5%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Electronic Health Records Adoption Survey.
- Urologists, who rank third for EHR use at 94%, have the highest percentage of certified systems of any medical specialty — 92.6%.
- Other areas with strong adoption rates are general surgery (93.8%), orthopedic surgery (93.2%) and general/family practice (92.7%). Psychiatrists are the least likely to use EHRs, with just 61.3% saying they have a system.
Overall, 86.9% of office-based physicians in the U.S. use some form of EHR. State by state, usage rates range from a high of 98.8% in Delaware to 74.8% in Louisiana, the report shows. In all, 19 states had physician use rates of 90% or above.
The 2015 NEHRS sample consisted of 10,302 office-based physicians. Just over half (51.9%) responded to the survey.
The survey reflects the growing role that EHRs play in healthcare today. According to a survey released last summer by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, 96% of nonfederal acute care hospitals had a certified EHR system in 2015, and 84% had at least basic EHR technology. The survey also showed that eight in 10 small, rural and critical access hospitals are using EHRs. As in the office-based setting, psychiatric hospitals have among the lowest adoption rates — 55% versus 84% for general hospitals.
Barriers to widespread adoption include lack of interoperability, lack of national policies to support health information exchange and issues around health data security and usability. Some initiatives, like CMS’ EHR Incentive program and Regional Extension Centers, have helped fuel adoption in hospitals, but they’ve had less impact on physician practices, according to an April 2016 ONC report to Congress.
Studies have linked EHRs to increasing rates of physician burnout in this country. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that doctors spend roughly half (49.2%) of their workday on EHR and administrative tasks, versus 27% seeing patients.
Meanwhile, the American Medical Association and a number of other provider groups and state medical societies have asked CMS to delay the deadline for complying with 2015 EHR certification requirements until January 2019 to ensure a smooth transition to the new technology. They argue that requiring clinicians to adopt 2015 Edition CEHRT by 2018 will lead to hurried upgrades, lack of training and major disruption of doctor practices.