Health Affairs studies show that smaller facilities and those with older doctors slower to implement EMR

In order to garner a better understanding of how comprehensive electronic medical records software has been in the United States, a recent study published by Health Affairs examined a broad volume of data generated by the American Hospital Association for 2011, the year in which federal incentives for meaningful use of healthcare IT began.

On the positive side of the study, the researchers determined that overall EMR adoption (meaning a facility with any kind of digital system in place) rose from just over 15 percent of medical practices in 2010 to nearly 27 percent in 2011.

However, while these rates do suggest an upward trend, the gap between large and small hospitals continued to grow as well. For example, while 43 percent of larger facilities had adopted some kind of EMR system, only 20.8 percent of small facilities had taken the measure as well.

"We continue to see a large proportion of hospitals that are making very little progress, including one in 13 institutions that have none of the 12 core measures included in our proxy standard for Meaningful Use," noted the researchers. "We believe that federal policy makers need to redouble their efforts among hospitals that appear to be moving slowly or starting from a lower base rate of adoption."

A similar gap was found in a separate study published by Health Affairs in which it was discovered that doctors over 55 years of age were less likely to use EMR than their younger colleagues.

Considering such, smaller facilities and practices with older physicians would enjoy immense benefit from partnering with a medical technology consulting company that can assist with training initiatives. While achieving meaningful use criteria may be a daunting task for facilities with fewer resources, having the partnership of experienced tech professionals can ease this stress and facilitate a more agreeable transition. 

Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.