- EHR adoption grew significantly in 2013 and small medical offices took the lead in terms of growth compared to other providers, according to an annual report published by SK&A. Practices from solo practitioners to five physicians showed the greatest increases between January 2013 and January 2014.
One- and two-physician clinical sites had double-digit growth in EHR adoption: 42.3 percent to 53.7 percent and 64.9 percent, respectively.
Offices with three to five physicians, meanwhile, saw EHR adoption grow by a smaller though similarly large figure, jumping from 60.2 percent in 2013 to 69.6 percent to 2014.
The remaining categories — 6 to 10 physicians (67.4% to 73.8%), 11 to 25 physicians (74.3% to 78.1%), and 26 or more physicians (75.9% to 77.5%) — had growth rates on a smaller scale likely because of the fact that EHR adoption was already higher among them in 2013.
Overall, 2013 was an important year for EHR adoption with the rate rising from 50.3 percent in 2013 to 61 percent as of January 2014. “What has accelerated the adoption of electronic health records among smaller practices is the availability of more than 450 different solutions to fit their practice needs, size and budget,” Senior Director of Marketing for SK&A Jack Schember said in a public statement on Monday.
“The healthcare IT community responded well to the opportunity presented by the EHR adoption incentives offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by providing a variety of options to physicians with relatively easy implementation and training support,” he continued. “Physicians also realize they have a limited window of opportunity to take advantage of federal reimbursements by showing ‘meaningful use’ of digital record-keeping technology.”
Other key findings from the annual study include:
• EHR adoption among Integrated Health Systems had the highest rate of all site ownerships. The percentage jumped to 71.4-percent from 63.4-percent a year ago. Integrated Health System adoptions were substantially higher than their non-health systems owned counterparts.
• EHR adoption rises as the number of physicians practicing at each site rises. Offices with three to five practicing physicians had 69.6-percent adoption, while offices with eleven to twenty-five practicing physicians had 78.1-percent adoption.
• EHR adoption rises as the number of exam rooms at each site rises. Offices with one exam room had 39.7-percent adoption, while offices with 11-plus exam rooms had 74.8-percent adoption.
• EHR adoption rises as the average daily patient volume at each site rises. Offices with average daily patient volumes of one to fifty patients had 57.5-percent adoption, while offices with 101-plus patients had 76.3-percent adoption.
• Physician specialties with the highest adoption rates are dialysis (80.6%), internal medicine/pediatrics (75.8%), nephrology (70.5%), and pathology (69.4%).
• Top-five states for EHR adoption are Utah (71.6%), South Dakota (71.2%), Wyoming (71.0%), Iowa (70.8%), and North Dakota (69.2%).
Consistent with EHR vendor market reports from KLAS and the like, the top companies in the industry were among the leaders for physician practices. Epic Systems, whose adoption rate increases with number of physicians in a given practice, took the top spot with 10.8 percent of the overall EHR vendor market share. Epic was followed by eClinicalWorks (10.0%) and Allscripts (9.5%). Rounding out the top-ten were the following EHR vendors:
• Practice Fusion (6.4%)
• NextGen (5.7%)
• GE Healthcare (3.7%)
• Cerner (3.5%)
• McKesson (3.4%)
• athenahealth (2.8%)
• Amazing Charts (2.5%)
With meaningful use playing a significant factor in driving EHR adoption over the last year, perhaps dwindling EHR incentives and introduction of payment adjustments are starting to have a very tangible impact.