Small Medical Offices Take Lead in Growth of EHR Adoption


Ongoing Study Shows Increasing Rates of EHR Adoption, Most Notably in Solo and Small Practices

SK&A has released its annual “Physician Office Usage of Electronic Health Records Software” report, which reveals that from 2013 to 2014, physician office usage of EHRs jumped more than 10 percentage points in solo and smaller practices, and implementation continues to increase across the board for all U.S. offices.

Based on an ongoing telephone survey of 270,036 U.S. medical sites, SK&A’s report showed an overall EHR adoption rate of 61 percent, up from 50.3 percent from the prior year. The adoption rate for single-doctor offices grew 11.4 percentage points, from 42.3 percent to 53.7 percent, while the adoption rate for offices with 26 or more doctors increased only 1.6 percentage points, from 75.9 percent to 77.5 percent.

“What has accelerated the adoption of electronic health records among smaller practices is the availability of more than 450 different solutions to fit their practice needs, size and budget,” said Jack Schember, Sr. Director of Marketing for SK&A, A Cegedim Company. “The healthcare IT community responded well to the opportunity presented by the EHR adoption incentives offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by providing a variety of options to physicians with relatively easy implementation and training support. Physicians also realize they have a limited window of opportunity to take advantage of federal reimbursements by showing ‘meaningful use’ of digital record-keeping technology.”

Other EHR utilization trends include:

  • EHR adoption among Integrated Health Systems had the highest rate of all site ownerships. The percentage jumped to 71.4-percent from 63.4-percent a year ago. Integrated Health System adoptions were substantially higher than their non-health systems owned counterparts.
  • EHR adoption rises as the number of physicians practicing at each site rises. Offices with three to five practicing physicians had 69.6-percent adoption, while offices with eleven to twenty-five practicing physicians had 78.1-percent adoption.
  • EHR adoption rises as the number of exam rooms at each site rises. Offices with one exam room had 39.7-percent adoption, while offices with 11-plus exam rooms had 74.8-percent adoption.
  • EHR adoption rises as the average daily patient volume at each site rises. Offices with average daily patient volumes of one to fifty patients had 57.5-percent adoption, while offices with 101-plus patients had 76.3-percent adoption.
  • Physician specialties with the highest adoption rates are dialysis (80.6%), internal medicine/pediatrics (75.8%), nephrology (70.5%), and pathology (69.4%).
  • Top five states for EHR adoption are Utah (71.6%), South Dakota (71.2%), Wyoming (71.0%), Iowa (70.8%), and North Dakota (69.2%).

By understanding the utilization rate, the healthcare life sciences industry will be better prepared to address the evolving structure of healthcare delivery to support commercial strategies, resource planning, and multichannel customer engagement.

For targeting strategies or analytics, the exclusive data report is customized and segmented by: size of physician offices, number of exam rooms, average daily patient volume, site ownership, region, state, and practice specialty. The report also details EHR vendor market share by practice size. The top three EHR vendors include Epic Systems Corporation, eClinicalworks, and Allscripts.

SK&A has assumed the leading role in measuring medical office adoption rates of EHR through its comprehensive telephone survey methodology. SK&A continues its multiyear contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to track adoption rates and planned usage