Objectives: This report presents trends in the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) by office-based physicians during 2007-2012. Rates of adoption are compared by selected physician and practice characteristics.
Methods: The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) is based on a national probability sample of nonfederal office-based physicians who see patients in an office setting. Prior to 2008, data on physician characteristics were collected through in-person interviews with physicians. To increase the sample for analyzing physician adoption of EHR systems, starting in 2008, NAMCS physician interview data were supplemented with data from an EHR mail survey. This report presents estimates from the 2007 in-person interviews, combined 2008-2010 data from both the in-person interviews and the EHR mail surveys, and 2011-2012 data from the EHR mail surveys. Sample data were weighted to produce national estimates of office-based physician characteristics and their practices.
Results: In 2012, 71.8% of office-based physicians reported using any type of EHR system, up from 34.8% in 2007. In 2012, 39.6% of physicians had an EHR system with features meeting the criteria of a basic system, up from 11.8% in 2007; 23.5% of office-based physicians had an EHR system with features meeting the criteria of a fully functional system in 2012, up from 3.8% in 2007. In 2007, a wide gap existed in use of any type of EHR system between physicians in practices with 11 or more physicians (74.3%) compared with physicians in smaller practices (20.6% among solo practitioners); the gap, however, narrowed during 2007-2012. In 2007, no significant gap was observed in adoption of a fully functional system between primary care (4.7%) and nonprimary care physicians (2.8%); the gap, however, widened over time (27.9% compared with 19.4% in 2012). The difference in adoption of a fully functional system between physicians in practices with 11 or more physicians compared with solo practitioners was 10.4 percentage points in 2007; the gap widened to 30.6 percentage points in 2012.
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