Survey: 80% of Physicians Use EHRs, Many Favor VA’s System

July 17, 2014 in News

A majority of health care providers reported using an electronic health record system, with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA-CPRS system scoring the highest, according to a new Medscape survey, EHR Intelligence reports (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 7/17).

Survey Details

More than 18,500 physicians across 25 specialties responded to the survey, including physicians who:

  • Practice independently and use their own EHR systems;
  • Practice independently and use a hospital EHR; and
  • Are part of a hospital or health system network and use that organization’s EHR.

For the survey, physicians rated their EHRs by several criteria, including:

  • Ease of use;
  • Clinical workflow functionalities;
  • Interoperability;
  • Overall satisfaction with the product; and
  • Vendor support.

Those ratings were then used to rank EHRs on a scale of 1 to 5, with a score of 5 meaning “excellent” and 1 meaning “poor” (Chesanow, Medscape Medical News, 7/15).

Survey Findings

Overall, Medscape‘s survey found that more than 80% of providers say they now use an EHR, while 4% are in the process of implementing one and 6% are planning to do so within the next one to two years, EHR Intelligence reports (EHR Intelligence, 7/17).

In addition, it found that the percentage of physicians using EHRs installed on the user’s hardware is falling and the use of Web-based EHRs is increasing. 

Just a small portion of providers said they do not use an EHR system or do not plan to implement one. The providers cited several reasons for their decisions, including:

  • Interference with the provider-patient relationship;
  • High cost; and
  • Lack of sufficient meaningful use incentives by CMS.

About 22% of respondents said they are opting out of or disregarding the meaningful use program, while 78% said they are now attesting to either Stage 1 or 2 (Medscape Medical News, 7/15).

Physicians Rank Systems

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA-CPRS scored highest among providers for user satisfaction (EHR Intelligence, 7/17). Specifically, the system received high marks in overall ease of use, value for money spent, clinical functionality, and interoperability. The other high-scoring systems rounding out the top 10 are, in order:

  • Practice Fusion;
  • Amazing Charts;
  • MEDENT;
  • e-MDs;
  • athenahealth;
  • Nextech;
  • Epic;
  • eClinicalWorks; and
  • Sage.

About 42% of respondents reported being “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their vendor, while 33% said they were less than satisfied, and 17% said they were neutral. In addition, most providers said EHR systems have a negative effect on patient care, with 70% reporting that EHRs decrease face-to-face time with patients and 57% noting that EHRs lessen their ability to see patients. However, 35% said EHRs allow them to effectively respond to patient’ needs.

Physicians also appeared to lack confidence in EHR privacy, with just 17% noting that they had no privacy concerns, compared with 77% in 2012. Also, about half of respondents said EHRs do not improve physicians’ ability to manage staff.

However, 81% of physicians said EHRs have become more comfortable to use over time (Medscape Medical News, 7/15).

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