Study: More Pediatricians Using EHRs; Few Have Full Functionality

January 2, 2015 in News

The number of pediatricians that use electronic health records has increased since the implementation of the HITECH Act in 2009, but few have fully functional EHRs and most lack pediatric-specific functions, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, Becker’s Health IT CIO Review reports.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Rappleye, Becker’s Health IT CIO Review, 12/30/14).

Study Details

The study was based on a survey of 1,621 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics conducted between July 2012 and December 2012. The responses were compared with those from a similar survey administered in 2009 (Lehmann et al., Pediatrics, 12/29/14).

Study Findings

The study found that 79% of pediatricians said they used EHRs in 2012, compared with 58% in 2009 (Becker’s Health IT CIO Review, 12/30/14).

Specifically, the study showed that:

  • 31% of pediatricians reported using EHRs with basic functionality;
  • 14% reported using EHRs with full functionality (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 12/30/14); and
  • 8% reported using EHRs with pediatric-specific functions, such as weight-based medicine dosage (Becker’s Health IT CIO Review, 12/30/14).

Pediatricians whose patient bases were comprised of at least 20% public health insurance beneficiaries were most likely to have EHRs, while independent and two-physician practices were least likely, according to the study (Health Data Management, 12/30/2014).

In addition, the study found that 50% of respondents said EHRs were necessary to improve care, while 32% said the systems were not necessary (Perna, Healthcare Informatics, 12/30/14).

Respondents also identified several barriers to EHR adoption at the time of the survey, including:

  • Concerns that EHR systems would become obsolete;
  • Costs;
  • Productivity loss; and
  • Return on investment concerns.

The researchers wrote, “It is critically important to the health maintenance of our children that pediatricians adopt EHRs, which support the basic practices of pediatrics.”

They recommended that more research on the best practices and effects of EHR use among pediatricians be conducted to develop improved systems that will increase pediatrician’s confidence in EHRs (Health Data Management, 12/30/14).


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