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Physicians and EHRs

By September 4, 2012Commentary

A new survey of over 20,000 physicians, conducted online, asks a number of questions regarding their use of electronic medical records.    (Medscape Survey)   According to the survey, 74% of doctors are using an EHR currently, compared to only 38% in the 2009 survey.  Only 6% of doctors say they have no plans to start using an EHR.  Epic is the most commonly used system, by 22% of respondents, followed by Allscripts at 10%, Cerner at 9% and Centricity and eClinical at 6%.  The market is widely scattered and “other” has 22% of usage.  On a scale of 1 to 5, the most satisfaction is expressed for Amazing Charts at 4.2, followed by Practice Fusion at 4.   Neither has a significant market share.  Of the leading vendors, Epic has the best satisfaction rating at 3.5.   Satisfaction was based on 12 factors, including ease of use, ease of learning to use, overall value for the money and interactivity with other systems.

The most commonly used system for practices of ten or less doctors is Amazing Charts, followed by Practice Fusion.  For practices over 100 doctors, the most commonly used ones  are e-MDs, derivatives of the VA system and Epic.  In terms of effect on the practice, 26% said using an EHR decreased their productivity, only 15% said it increased but 23% said their efficiency was higher.  A few more said using an EHR improved their relationship with patients than said it had no impact or a negative one.  Sixty two percent said they are happy with their system and don’t plan to change, 28% are unhappy, but don’t plan to change due to cost and 10% are unhappy and planning to change.  Hosted EHRs are used by 21%, installed by 46%  and the rest don’t know.  Most doctors don’t know the cost of their system, of those who did, 28% said it was more than $10,000 per physician.  Overall most doctors said they are in favor of EHRs, but a number are not impressed.  Other research has shown that few doctors reach meaningful use criteria with their EHR.

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