Electronic Health Records

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NCHS survey: Basic EHR adoption reaches nearly 40%

- A new data brief released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the CDC reveals that 39.6% of physicians are now using an EHR/EMR system that meets the “basic system” criteria, up from 22% in 2009.  The state-by-state adoption rate varied significantly, ranging from 22.4% in the District of Columbia to the 70.6% rate boasted by Wisconsin.

A “basic” EHR is defined as a system that allows for the collection of patient demographic data, problem lists, physician clinical notes, comprehensive medication and allergy lists, computerized prescription orders, and the ability to view lab results and radiography images electronically.  While the number of physicians using any EHR system, including partial or modular systems, reached 71.8%, only basic EHR systems have the potential to be certified by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), which allows adopters to apply for meaningful use incentives.

Of the more than ten thousand physicians contacted by the NCHS, two out of three reported that they planned to apply for meaningful use incentives from CMS.  Only a quarter of those physicians, however, had electronic systems that were capable of supporting 13 of the Stage 1 core objectives required for a successful attestation.  To qualify for Stage 1 Meaningful Use, providers must meet the 15 core objectives and 5 of 10 menu objectives.  Midwestern states, such as South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, reported as many as 82% of physicians interested in attesting to meaningful use, well above the national average.

The annual survey excluded anesthesiologists, pathologists, and radiologists, and excluded some unreliable data from certain states.

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