A large online survey of medical practices, with nearly 4,600 responses, finds no consensus that electronic health records systems increase physician productivity.

The survey found 72% of responding EHR owners are satisfied with the overall system. But only 26.5% of those surveyed say physician productivity has increased, while nearly 31% experienced a productivity decrease and 43% reported no change.

The Medical Group Management Association conducted the survey in October and early November of 2010 with funding from PNC Bank. Fifty-nine percent of respondents were from independent practices, 22% from academic- or hospital-owned practices and most of the rest from other types of ambulatory practices. Other survey findings:

* While 80 percent of practices that have adopted EHRs intend to go for meaningful use incentives, only about 14% felt they were currently able to meet all criteria.

* Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported total practice operating costs increased after EHR implementation, 26% said costs decreased and 36% experienced no change.

* Aspects of hospital or delivery system ownership may slow EHR adoption or integration with other technologies. About 20% of independent practices with an EHR were in the implementation stage, compared with nearly 34% of hospital-owned practices reporting an EHR.

* Almost half of independent practices with an EHR were at the time of the survey focused on optimizing use of the technology.

The MGMA report: "Electronic Health Records: Status Needs and Lessons."

Goedert is the news editor of Health Data Management, a SourceMedia publication.Follow EBN on: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Podcasts

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