Electronic health records (EHRs) are part of nearly all physician practices, but implementation has not been without challenges. In this year’s report on EHR use, Medscape surveyed 15,285 physicians across over 25 specialties. We asked about usage, specific system ratings, and vendor satisfaction. Respondents also described how their EHR affects practice operations and patient encounters. Overall, it is evident that some dramatic changes have taken place since Medscape’s 2012 EHR report.
Note: Values in charts have been rounded and may not match the sums described in the captions.
The switch from paper charts to EHRs essentially has been accomplished, although it took a while. Very few physicians these days operate their practices without an EHR: In our survey, over 91% of physician respondents said they use one. Two percent of respondents are currently installing or implementing an EHR, and 3% plan to purchase or start using an EHR within the next 2 years, meaning that it won’t be long before nearly every physician is using an EHR.
In Medscape’s 2012 EHR Report, 74% of participating doctors said they were currently using EHRs, and another 20% were either in the process of installing/implementing an EHR or planned to purchase or start using one in the next 1-2 years. In our 2016 report, the percentage of current EHR users climbed to 91%, with another 5% identifying as soon-to-be users.
More than two thirds (68%) of physicians use a hospital or health EHR system, whether they work within these systems (63%) or are in independent practices that use them (5%). A third of independent practices have their own system.
In 2012, Epic was the most widely used EHR (22%) and was still on top in 2016 (28%). However, there was a dramatic change in the second spot. In 2012, Allscripts held that position, at 10%, but in 2016 it didn’t even appear in the top five. Possibly this was fallout from the 2012 decision to drop its small-practice software, MyWay, because of design flaws that prevented users from meeting meaningful use requirements. In fact, physicians brought a class-action suit against the company for the deficiency—the first case of its kind.[1-3]
EHR systems typically differ between large institutions, such as hospitals, and independent practices. Those used in larger organizations require complex networks and software to manage more activities, more specialties, and more reporting than typically needed in independent practices. Epic dominates the EHR market for hospitals and health systems, with 41% of users—more than three times as many as Cerner (13%), its next largest competitor. All other EHR systems were each used by 2%-6% of hospitals or health networks. Of note, about 5% of independent practices use hospital or health network systems and were included in these responses.
Independent private practices with their own EHRs, including many smaller practices, generally use a different set of products. eClinicalWorks was rated first in usage (12%), and Practice Fusion and NextGen tied for second place, with 8% each. More than a third (34%) use “other systems,” which included a few systems that were frequently mentioned: EMA/Modernizing Medicine (1.6%), a cloud-based specialty-specific system; Office Practicum (1.2%); and Aprima (0.8%). Click to read more.