Doctors offer views on EMR implementation

The annual survey also reported that more physicians feel outside pressure to adopt electronic medical records.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted Nov. 12, 2007

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Some barriers to electronic medical record implementation are lessening for physicians, according to the Medical Records Institute's annual "Survey of Electronic Medical Records Trends and Usage." The percentage of doctors who reported funding and resource barriers to purchasing EMRs decreased, as did the percentage reporting lack of support from staff or partners.

Meanwhile, real or perceived pressure of employers, insurers and the government to install EMRs is being felt. The percentage of practices reporting that such pressure drove their decision to get an EMR tripled since last year, from 6.9% to 19.9%.

After vendor and consultant responses were removed to reduce survey bias, there were 729 respondents to the survey in 2006 and 819 in 2007. The institute is an organization that promotes technology use in health care.

More than 90% of the 2007 respondents said they anticipate that EMRs will have improved patient safety and quality of care 10 years from now. More than half said quality of care, patient safety and efficiency in delivery of care have already improved due to EMRs. However, the survey was limited to physicians who are installing or have installed EMRs and did not measure the overall percentage of practices that are using EMRs, a number usually reported to be around 20%.

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Why you need an EMR, what's stopping you

Lack of funding and lack of resources remain the chief barrier to implementation, say physicians who have installed or are installing EMRs.

2006 2007
Improved patient documentation Not asked 81.2%
Improved workflow efficiencies 81.7% 73.1%
Remote access to patient records Not asked 72.1%
Improved coding and charge capture 60.0% 64.2%
Point-of-care access and transmission of patient data Not asked 63.2%
Patient and physician satisfaction 52.6% 61.5%
Decision support and clinical guidelines Not asked 52.6%
Easier reporting (e.g., government, payers) Not asked 50.1%
Increased revenues not asked 44.9%
Computer and Internet support for decision-making Not asked 37.5%
Expanding medical community with links to hospitals, other services Not asked 33.3%
Value-based purchasing/pay-for-performance 33.0% 33.1%
Improved competitiveness 44.4% 30.4%
Pressure from government, insurers 6.9% 19.9%
Possibility of subsidized purchase 15.8% 19.5%
Lack of adequate funding or resources 55.5% 40.4%
Anticipated difficulties in changing to an EMR system Option not offered 30.9%
Difficulty in creating migration plan from paper 22.9% 29.3%
Inability to find an EMR solution or components at an affordable cost 29.4% 29.1%
Difficulty justifying the investment 21.0% 23.7%
Unable to find EMR that meets needs 23.6% 21.1%
Difficulty finding an EMR that is not fragmented among vendors or IT platforms 23.2% 19.0%
Lack of support by medical staff or partners 31.7% 18.8%
Difficulty evaluating EMR solutions or components 23.6% 18.5%

Source: "Survey of Electronic Medical Records Trends and Usage," Medical Records Institute

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