Federal incentives, ease of use driving adoption of EHR’s, says study

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A survey of 100 physicians across the U.S. that was conducted by Sage Healthcare revealed that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use financial incentives are a considerable factor in the adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems.

The study polled 100 healthcare professionals to determine how many of them had already implemented EHR healthcare IT solutions in the practices, and what factors had informed their decisions. The CMS meaningful use incentives were a motivating factor for 64 percent of respondents when choosing whether to purchase an EHR. Despite the financial incentives to adopt a clinical informatics system, 32 percent of physicians polled indicated that the initial investment remained a barrier to implementing an EHR in their practice.

Betty Otter-Nickerson, president of Sage’s healthcare division, said that “Implementation of EHR’s in the U.S. continue to grow as an increased number of physicians and staff gain a better understanding of the efficiency and cost-saving benefits of using the technology. However, a significant number of office-based practices have yet to implement an EHR,” as quoted by Information Week.

The data showed that of those respondents who indicated they had already adopted an EHR system, 77 percent indicated that ease of use of clinical informatics technology was a primary reason behind their decision. Other factors such as improving access to patient data and a reduction in the time spent searching for, and managing information were also key to the decision to implement medical informatics solutions, with 39 and 34 percent of doctors citing such factors respectively. More than half of the physicians who had already invested in an EHR indicated that a reduction in paper handling had resulted in cost savings for their practices.

For those who had not yet implemented a medical informatics solution, 30 percent stated that they would prefer to adopt an in-house system rather than a software-as-a-service or cloud-based system.