2011 EHR / EMR Software Adoption Rates in US

Learn more about the adoption rates of EHR and EMR software
A recent article on the Health Care Blog by Margalit Gur-Arie analyzed the recently released 2011 Electronic Health Records (EHR) adoption rates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data revealed that over half of the ambulatory physicians surveyed are utilizing EHR’s. The adoption rate grew at an unprecedented levels during 2006-2010 the growth has slowed during 2010-2011. The study also revealed that about a quarter of practices using EHR’s are only using bare bone software or limited features.

On Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of its yearly survey on Electronic Health Records (EHR) adoption for office-based physicians. No surprises. Generally speaking, the majority of physicians in ambulatory practice are now using an EHR, and over half of surveyed doctors say that they intend to seek Meaningful Use incentives. The report is also presenting results broken down by state, so you can learn what folks are doing in your immediate vicinity. The more instructive exercise is to compare last year’s survey results to this year’s estimated EHR adoption numbers .

Figure 1: Percentage of office-based based physicians with EHR – 2010
Figure 2: Percentage of office-based physicians with EHR – 2011


The most immediate observation is that 6.2% of physicians have adopted an EHR in 2011, thus returning to EHR growth rates preceding the 2009 -2010 slowdown, which was largely due to the confusion created by Meaningful Use regulations. The next observation is that the percentage of docs that have at least a basic EHR has gone up by 8.9% in 2011. A basic EHR is one that has “patient history and demographics, patient problem list, physician clinical notes, comprehensive list of patient’s medications and allergies, computerized orders for prescriptions, and ability to view laboratory and imaging results electronically”. Although the survey instrument in 2011 did ask about more advanced functionality, and is practically identical to the 2010 instrument, the CDC did not publish a separate number for those with fully functional systems in 2011. Although I cannot be certain, I would assume that most of the growth in 2011 was fueled by certified EHRs, which by definition should be fully functional. So if I had to guess, and I hope CDC will release the numbers so I don’t have to, I would estimate that in 2011 we have at least 20% of physicians using fully functional systems, which is roughly double what we had in 2010.

With this trending information in mind it is difficult for practices to share data without the use of faxing or triplicate forms. ReferralMD’s solution allows practitioners to accept new patients along with their medical records quickly and conveniently, no matter what EHR system is being used. Increase your practice size with referrals.

To read the referenced article in full please visit:2011 EHR Adoption Rates

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Rick Hammer

With over 25 years of experience in delivering the right products, partnerships, and services that lead to the success of healthcare technology companies; Rick Hammer serves as Chief Product Officer at ReferralMD

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