Register / Log In

PCPs lead way with increasing EHR adoption

Physician practices are steadily adopting electronic health records (EHRs) according to two recent reports.

As of July, 2,246 eligible professionals (EPs) had attested to meaningful use, reported Robert Tagalicod of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the August meeting of the Healthcare IT Policy Committee. Another 137 EPs attempted unsuccessfully to attest. Internists and family physicians have significantly outpaced other specialties in attesting so far this year, noted Elizabeth Holland of CMS.

The rising number of practices using EHRs bodes well for steady increases in the number attesting to meaningful use. Overall, 40.4% of physician offices reported using EHRs in July compared with 38.7% in October 2010, according to SK&A, which has a federal contract to measure EHR adoption.

Practices with three to five physicians increased their use of EHRs the most, posting a rise of 4%, to 51%. Adoption rates rose rapidly as the number of physicians in an office increased, with a low of 30.8% of sole practitioners reporting using EHRs versus 75.5% of practices with more than 26 physicians.

Approximately 30% of practices with EHRs used electronic notes, e-prescribing, or electronic labs and x-rays, but only 25% used all three. Adoption rates varied by region, with the highest rates in the North (42.4%) and the lowest in the East (37.3%). Minnesota led the nation with nearly 62% of physicians using EHRs. New Jersey had the fewest practices using EHRs at 30%.

Go back to the current issue of eConsult.

Compensation in primary care practices edged up about 2.6% in 2010, a smaller increase than in the previous year but still slightly more than specialty practices, a recent survey found. Overall, however, the news was far from good?many practices were operating at a loss.

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) can be financially rewarding for participating physician groups, but it may take longer than expected, if the results of the physician group practice demonstration apply. Read more to find out when the risks actually resulted in rewards.

About half of all office-based U.S. physicians were in practices employing so-called ?physician extenders,? with primary care physicians being more likely to work with them than medical specialists, according to a government report.

Family medicine practitioners have a lower probability of being sued for malpractice than most specialties but still have at least a 75% chance of facing a lawsuit before typical retirement age, according to a new study. The good news? More than three-quarters of all claims resulted in no payments.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services needs to make substantial changes in methodology and distribution before physician feedback reports can be considered meaningful, actionable, and reliable for individual physicians as well as groups, according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO). The reports indicate how practices are meeting criteria that will ultimately determine their Medicare reimbursement.