A majority of family practitioners responding to a recent American Academy of Family Physicians survey said they either have an electronic medical-record system now or will have one within a year.
The survey, performed earlier this year by AAFP chapters in 21 states, generated 788 responses.
While the survey methodology was far from bulletproof, a key takeaway is that the results indicate a recent, heightened interest in EMR technology among member physicians, according to David Kibbe, M.D., who heads the AAFP's Center for Health Information Technology.
For example, Kibbe noted that of those physicians who said they had an electronic record system, nearly one in four had just started using it within the past six months, while more than one in three had been using their EMRs for less than a year.
Nearly three out of four physicians responding to the survey (74%) said they use a hand-held computer or PDA, 97% said they have Internet access in their offices, and 90% said they use the Internet for information on patient care. Also, 39% of those surveyed said they had an electronic health-records system.
Asked "Which best describes your status with regard to electronic medical records or electronic health records (EHR)?" the physicians responded as follows:
- 17% said the office has completely converted to an EHR
- 13% said a majority of patients' health information is in an EHR
- 2% said they are using an EHR, but not for most patients
- 7% said they are just getting started with an EHR
- 15% said they did not have an EHR but planned to buy one within one year
- 16% said they planned to buy one within two years
- 18% said they planned to buy one after two years
- 7% said they will not buy an EHR
- 4% said the question is not applicable
Physicians were asked to write in which system they used. Practice Partner by Physician Micro Systems was the system most commonly mentioned, with 42 reported users, followed by various EMR versions by Epic Systems (32), SOAPWare by Docs, Inc. (20) and Misys EMR by Misys Health Systems (20); Centricity/Logician by GE Medical Systems (20); and various EMR versions by Cerner Corp. (17).
Of those who have a system, more than one in three (76%) said they would recommend theirs to their colleagues, but 22% said they would not.