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EHR Adoption Increasing in Texas

A growing number of Texas Medical Association (TMA) physicians are using electronic tools to help them practice medicine, according to a survey conducted by the Austin, TX-based state medical society.

The "TMA Survey - Electronic Medical Records - 2009" measured whether physicians are using office technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs), e-prescribing and health information exchange (HIE). The survey found that adoption of electronic tools in the medical office is on the rise, but some challenges to adoption and utilization remain.

Highlights of the TMA survey include:

  • forty-three (43) percent of physicians report using an EHR now, up from 33 percent in 2007 and 27 percent in 2005;
  • physicians report electronically entering information about the patient's visit into his or her medical record as the most commonly used of all EHR functions;
  • the top concern among physicians was data input, with doctors reporting it is difficult and time consuming;
  • physicians reported spending about $18,000 to buy, learn and implement EHR systems in their medical practices, down from an average of $25,000 in 2007; and
  • fifty-nine (59) percent of TMA physicians indicated interest in trying to qualify for federal EMR stimulus incentives.

"There's good and bad news in this survey," said Joseph H. Schneider, MD, chair of TMA's Ad Hoc Committee on Health Information Technology. "More physicians are using EHRs, but a significant portion [of doctors] are having technology and usability problems that in some cases threaten physician practice viability, patient safety and continuity of care. Physicians need EHRs that are much more intuitive and easy to use, like Amazon, Google or the iPhone."

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