Research finds low EHR adoption rates for physician groups

Author: Carrie Morantz
Date: Oct 15, 2005

A study by the Medical Group Management Association Center for Research and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, has captured the current state of adoption of electronic health records (EHR) by U.S. medical group practices. More than 3,300 medical group practices participated in the Assessing Adoption of Health Information Technology project, which was funded by AHRQ. The study shows that approximately 14 percent of all medical group practices use an EHR. Of those groups, 11.5 percent indicated that an EHR was fully implemented for all physicians and at all practice locations. More significantly, the research shows that only 12.5 percent of medical group practices with five or fewer full-time-equivalent physicians have adopted an EHR. The EHR adoption rate increased with the size of practice: groups with six to 10 full-time physicians reported a 15.2 percent adoption rate, groups with 11 to 20 full-time physicians reported an 18.9 percent adoption rate, and groups of 20 or more full-time physicians had a 19.5 percent adoption rate. Other data showed that approximately 13 percent of groups were in the process of implementing an EHR; about 14 percent said implementation is planned in the next year; and about 20 percent said implementation was planned in 13 to 24 months. The remaining groups have no immediate plans for EHR adoption. Among practices with no immediate plans for implementation, the difference between large and small groups is striking: 47.8 percent of practices with five or fewer full-time physicians compared with only 20.7 percent of practices with 21 or more physicians. The study results are highlighted in the September-October edition of Health Affairs.

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