Physicians’ EHRs Usage Increase, But ‘Digital Divide’ Remains: Study the past four years, the adoption of electronic health records by primary care physicians has risen significantly. Physicians like the idea of staying connected with their patients. From the other end, patients also want to access their health records and to participate in their own health process. Even through the idea seems appealing to both patients and healthcare providers, a ‘Digital Divide’ still seems to linger between large and small physician practices, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund.

Also see: EHRs changing the way doctors deliver care

Here’s what the findings of the study outline: [@HealthITplus]

Increase in EHR adoption from 46% in 2009 to 69% in 2012. Also, majority of physicians are utilizing core health IT functions such as:

  • Clinical decision support;
  • Electronic prescribing; and
  • Electronic ordering of laboratory tests (Commonwealth Fund release, 1/24)

In addition, the study found that in 2012:

  • 33% of physicians could electronically exchange clinical summaries; and
  • 35% could electronically share lab or diagnostic tests with physicians outside their practices

The report clearly noted that the EHR adoption was highly affected by the size of the practices. For example, the study found that 90% of practices with 20 or more physicians had adopted EHRs, compared with just 50% of solo physician practices.

On the contrary, higher EHR adoption rates were found among small practices that shared resources or those that took advantage of financial incentives. Factors such as technical assistance programs and financial incentives could help bridge the adoption gap between large and small practices, the report concluded.

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