More pediatricians using EHR systems

January 15, 2015

A new study reports that the percentage of pediatricians using electronic health records (EHRs) has increased from 58% to 79% since 2009, when passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act implemented incentives for adopting EHRs.

A new study reports that the percentage of pediatricians using electronic health records (EHRs) has increased from 58% to 79% since 2009, when passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) implemented incentives for adopting EHRs.

The study analyzed responses by 568 office and ambulatory care pediatricians to a 2012 survey of more than 1600 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and compared them with responses to a similar 2009 survey.

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Despite the increase in EHR implementation by 2012, only 31% of pediatricians were using an EHR with basic functionality (demographics; problem lists; prescriptions orders; laboratory and imaging result viewing; clinical notes; and medication lists), the study found, and only 14% used a fully functional EHR (basic plus drug interactions warnings; electronic prescribing; ordering and electronic transmission of laboratory and radiology tests; age-specific laboratory ranges; electronic images returned; medical history; and guideline reminders). Only 8% used a pediatric-specific EHR.

Pediatricians in solo or 2-doctor practices were least likely to use an EHR. Physicians aged younger than 49 years were more likely to use EHRs (86%) than older physicians (73%) and more likely to deem an EHR important to quality care and recruiting. Half of doctors who weren’t using an EHR said they planned to implement one within 12 months of the survey.

The most significant reported obstacles to EHR adoption were worries about loss of productivity (74.9%); finding a system that would meet the practice’s needs (72.3%); cost (63.5%); and investing in a system that would become obsolete (60%).

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