The percentage of office-based physicians using federally certified electronic health record (EHR) systems continued to climb in 2014 although the number sharing patient information with third parties was limited, according to new federal data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, referencing the National Electronic Health Records Survey, says 74.1 percent of physicians in 2014 reported having a certified EHR, up from 67.5 percent in 2013. Primary care physicians, including family physicians, were more likely to have a certified EHR (78.6 percent) compared with non-primary care specialists (70.3 percent).
Researchers theorized that incentives provided through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ meaningful use program helped encourage physicians to adopt certified EHRs.
One of the goals of persuading physicians to adopt EHRs is so they can share medical history, lab results, medication, and other patient information with other physicians and hospitals as the patient moves between health care providers.
The survey showed that 32.5 percent of physicians with certified EHRs were electronically sharing patient information with third-party ambulatory physicians or nonaffiliated hospitals. By comparison, only 16.8 percent of physicians without a certified EHR were sharing information with those third-parties.
The numbers were even smaller for electronically sharing patient information with other types of health care providers. The survey found that 15.2 percent of those with certified EHRs said they shared information with home health providers, 13.6 percent shared with long-term care providers, and 14 percent shared with behavioral health providers.
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