Performance Improvement 2007. What Features and Capabilities of Electronic Medical Records Best Serve Doctors in Small Practices?



The study examined what physicians in small practices (nine or fewer members) believe are the elements of electronic medical records (EMRs) that will improve the quality of their health care and provide them with the greatest financial return. The study also sought to identify the most efficient, effective and successful implementation strategies for EMRs in these small practice offices. This, the first part of a two part study, focused on understanding the factors influencing adoption of electronic health records in small practices and developing an explanatory model incorporating these factors. Electronic medical records are viewed as a means to achieve improved health care quality and reduced costs. A number of public and private sector initiatives focus on promoting the adoption of health information technology such as community- and physician-focused initiatives. Despite these initiatives, the adoption of EMRs has been limited. Adoption rates vary widely across care settings; for instance, rates in ambulatory settings range between 15 and 18 percent. With approximately 75 percent of physician practices employing fewer than nine physicians, such low adoption rates among small practices does not bode well for a national goal of achieving broad use of electronic medical records. Low rates of EMR adoption have been attributed to a variety of forces including: misaligned financial incentives, lack of standard system applications, and the high turnover of health information technology vendors. Few studies have examined, at a microeconomic level, the various economic and non-economic factors that promote or deter EMR adoption in small practice settings. The analysis revealed that physicians are motivated to adopt electronic medial records by both financial and non-financial factors. Physicians care about quality and patient safety in addition to their income and leisure.

Report Title: Assessing the Economics of Electronic Medical Record Adoption and Successful Implementation in Physician Small Practice Settings
Agency Sponsor: ASPE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Burke-Bebee, Suzie, 202-401-8266
Performer: Moshman Associates, Inc.; Bethesda, MD
PIC ID: 8475

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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