EHR Use Doubles Among Doctors

Doctors' Use of Electronic Health Records More Than Doubles
Doctors' Use of Electronic Health Records More Than Doubles

(HealthDay News) – Almost 80% of doctors in the United States have switched from paper to electronic health records, new government statistics show.

By 2012, almost 72% of physicians had made the change, compared to just under 35% in 2007, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, the number of doctors using electronic health records has increased even more, lead researcher Esther Hing, a statistician at the CDC's U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, told HealthDay. "In 2013, 78% of physicians were using electronic health record systems," she said. "We are reaching nearly all the doctors."

Of the doctors who turned to electronic health records by 2012, 39.6% used a basic system, up from 11.8% in 2007, the researchers found. And 23.5% had a fully functional system, up from 3.8% in 2007. Hing noted that the progress is largely the result of the federal government's financial incentives to help doctors change to electronic recordkeeping.

"These incentives have had a large part in the increased adoption of these systems," Hing said. However, many doctors (about 40%) aren't using the full capabilities of their system, Hing noted. Once the system is installed, there is a steep learning curve before doctors and other staff are able to use it efficiently, she said.

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