Survey Results from the American Academy of Family Physicians Indicate Widespread Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223

LEAWOOD, Kan. - Family physicians across the country are eagerly joining the technology era and implementing electronic health record systems (EHRs) in their practices. That's the finding of a recent survey conducted by 21 constituent chapters of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Patients, as well as physicians, are reaping the benefits.

The survey, conducted earlier this summer, was completed by 788 AAFP members. Nearly 40 percent of the respondents have either completely converted to EHRs or are in the process. Of the 310 respondents that have EHRs, 73 percent indicated that their EHR systems improved the health of their patients in part by reducing prescribing errors and enhancing patient communication.

Other results from the survey include:

  • 65 percent of physicians with an EHR used a database of selected health information (up-to-the minute research and guidelines) to reference patient health information;
  • 49 percent of survey respondents wanted to purchase an EHR; 15 percent of those within one year, 16 percent within two years and 18 percent after two years; and
  • only 7 percent of the respondents had no plans to purchase an EHR.

To assist AAFP members in implementing EHRs in their practices, the AAFP created the Partners for Patients initiative in November, 2003. This initiative involves strategic alliances between the AAFP and leading information technology companies to pave the way for adoption of EHRs in family physicians' offices. Companies participating in the initiative have discounted the prices of their products and services for members of the AAFP. The AAFP was the first medical organization to aggressively address the need for and drive the development and adoption of EHRs.

David C. Kibbe, M.D., director of the AAFP Center for Health Information Technology, was encouraged by the survey data. "If this pattern holds and the AAFP gives the EHR initiative a bit of a push, we will reach our goal to have 50 percent of active members using EHRs by the end of 2005," he said.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,