More Than 70% of Physicians Used EHRs in 2012, CDC Report Says

May 21, 2014 in News

Nearly three-quarters of office-based physicians in the U.S. used electronic health record systems in 2013, according to a report released Tuesday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Reinberg, HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/20).

Details of CDC Data

The data were gathered through the annual National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which is a probability survey of non-federal, office-based physicians who provide direct patient care. CDC supplemented the survey data with a separate EHR survey. Overall, the data include physician responses from 2007 to 2012 (National Center for Health Statistics report, 5/20).


The CDC report found that in 2012:

  • 72% of physicians were using EHR systems, up from 35% in 2007;
  • 40% of physicians had an EHR system that met basic criteria, up from 12% in 2007; and
  • 24% of physicians were using a fully functional EHR system, up from 4% in 2007.

In addition, the data show that:

  • 66% of primary care physicians used EHRs in 2012;
  • 76% of EHR users were female, compared with 70% who were male; and
  • Physicians ages 65 and older saw the biggest growth in EHR adoption rates, increasing from 19% in 2007 to 54% in 2012 (Aguilera, “KPCC News,” KPPC, 5/20).

Esther Hing, lead researcher and CDC statistician, attributed the growth in EHR adoption in part to financial incentives provided by the federal government through the meaningful use program.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Hing noted that the percentage of physicians using EHRs has continued to rise, reaching 78% in 2013.

She also said that the data revealed a widening gap between physicians using basic systems and those using completely functional EHR systems. Hing said the gap grew from 10% in 2007 to 31% in 2012 (HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/20).

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