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U.S. Doctors Slow To Adopt Electronic Health Records
Date:2/21/2013

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although doctors who are using electronic health records in a meaningful way are eligible for a $44,000 bonus from the U.S. government, many still haven't adopted the new technology, a new study shows.

Overall, just one in six doctors has adopted electronic health records significantly enough to qualify for the bonus, the study found.

"These are the doctors that have attested to using the electronic health records. My guess is that more people are on the journey [to using electronic records] than have attested to it. But, there are still some physicians who haven't started using electronic health records at all," said the study's lead author, Adam Wright, a senior research scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Doctors who aren't on board by 2015 will be subject to government penalties, the study authors noted.

In their study, Wright and his colleagues reviewed data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to see how many doctors had attested to "meaningful use" of electronic health records.

"Meaningful use" includes prescribing information; drug-to-drug interactions and drug allergy checking; the maintenance of a health problem; medication lists, and allergy lists, according to background information in the study, which was published as a letter in the Feb. 21 New England Journal of Medicine.

As of May 2012, more than 62,000 doctors had attested to meaningful use. That translates to 12.2 percent of the eligible physicians in the United States. Just under 18 percent of primary care doctors attested to meaningful use of so-called e-records, while almost 10 percent of specialists had, the study found.

The authors said that while this indicates a rapid increase in the number of doctors using the new technology, if the ad
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