WHY ARE PHYSICIANS STILL SLOW TO ADOPT ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS (EMRS)?



Recent commentary in USA Today explores why doctors are still shying away from adopting important health information technologies (HIT). 

Ref: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/10/why-doctors-sti.html 

The above commentary highlights potential benefits of EMRs, such as reduced medical errors, heightened preventative care, and cost savings. It also exposes several barriers to adoption, including large initial investment, a steep learning curve, and lack of interoperability. Many of the USA Today discussion points corroborate recent AI findings from a survey of 244 physicians’ practices across Maryland. The survey found that physicians’ practices are generally hesitant to implement EMRs, even when offered financial assistance, implementation assistance, and connectivity with data sharing partners. However, the majority of doctors already using EMRs saw vast improvements in clinical workflow, clinical outcomes, and patient satisfaction. Notably, the article points out that doctors reap only 11% of the benefit s from EMRs, despite carrying the full burden of implementation and ongoing costs. This makes sense in the context of our own research, which shows some incentives do little in the way of encouraging physicians to adopt EMRs. Upon identifying this barrier, AI has recommended to the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) that more research is necessary to further explore ways for encouraging EMR adoption. The issues touched upon in this article are familiar talking points for AI. Our leadership in the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) initiative has borne many hours of discussion with physicians, patients, payers, non-for-profits, and state entities about the road blocks presented in this article.