Electronic medical record use by office-based physicians and their practices: United States, 2006

Esther S Hing, Catharine W Burt, David A Woodwell
Advance Data 2007 October 26, (393): 1-7

OBJECTIVES: This report presents the latest information on the use of electronic medical records in physician offices. Percentages of medical practices and physicians within the practices using electronic medical records (EMR) are presented for 2006 by selected physician and practice characteristics.

METHODS: Data from the physician induction interviews of the 2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) are presented. NAMCS includes a national probability sample of nonfederal office-based physicians who saw patients in an office setting. Sample data were weighted to produce national estimates of physicians. Estimates of medical practices were derived from NAMCS physician data by adjusting the weighting scheme using a multiplicity estimator.

RESULTS: In 2006, 29.2 percent of office-based physicians reported using full or partial EMR systems, which represented a 22% increase since 2005 and a 60% increase since 2001, when the NAMCS began monitoring this technology. Starting in 2005, the NAMCS included questions about EMR system features that health information technology experts consider minimal for a comprehensive EMR, namely computerized orders for prescriptions, computerized orders for tests, reporting of test results (lab or imaging), and clinical notes. Based on these requirements, 12.4 percent of physicians surveyed used comprehensive EMR systems in 2006, a figure not significantly different from the 9.3 percent reported for 2005. From 2005 to 2006, the percentage of medical practices using full or partial EMR systems increased by 42% (from 18.3 to 25.9 percent), but the percentage of medical practices using a comprehensive EMR system did not change.

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