Progress and Challenges in Electronic Health Record Adoption: Findings from a National Survey of Physicians

Publisher: Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 162, no. 5 (subscription required)
Mar 03, 2015
Catherine DesRoches
Under the provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, physicians receive substantial economic incentives to implement and use electronic health records (EHRs). The goal is to modernize the information technology infrastructure of the United States health care system. Since passage of the HITECH Act, EHR use has increased steadily, but some reports suggest that a number of physicians do not plan to participate in the program. A two-wave survey of 3,437 U.S. physicians in primary care or related specialties found that by 2013, 63 percent of physicians had an EHR (early adopters) and another 20 percent were in the process of implementing one (partial implementers). The 9 percent who did not plan to implement an EHR (persistent nonadopters) were, on average, older than other physicians and worked in small, isolated practices. These findings suggest that persistent nonadopters might face unique challenges that limit their adopting an EHR. These physicians might need support in selecting and implementing the systems. Failure to address the needs of these physicians has implications beyond adoption because new models of health care delivery require use of an EHR.