By 2011 more than half of all office-based physicians were using electronic health record systems, but only about one-third of those physicians had systems with basic features such as the abilities to record information on patient demographics, view laboratory and imaging results, maintain problem lists, compile clinical notes, or manage computerized prescription ordering. Basic features are considered important to realize the potential of these systems to improve health care. We found that although trends in adoption of electronic health record systems across geographic regions converged from 2002 through 2011, adoption continued to lag for non–primary care specialists, physicians age fifty-five and older, and physicians in small (1–2 providers) and physician-owned practices. Federal policies are specifically aimed at encouraging primary care providers and small practices to achieve widespread use of electronic health records. To achieve their nationwide adoption, federal policies may also have to focus on encouraging adoption among non–primary care specialists, as well as addressing persistent gaps in the use of electronic record systems by practice size, physician age, and ownership status.
Decker, Sandra L.; Jamoom, Eric W.; Sisk, Jane E., Health Affairs, Online first, DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.1121