Most U.S. physicians and hospitals have transitioned to using electronic health records (EHRs), but doctors still aren’t satisfied with the technology. Reviewing the benefits of EHRs can help you assess how to use your EHR more effectively. 

How many doctors use EHRs?

It may surprise you that only about 89% of U.S. physicians use an electronic health record in 2022. That means 1 in 10 of your colleagues are still taking notes with a pen and keeping paper records. 

According to the latest data from the CDC, just 72% of office-based physicians were using a certified EHR in 2019. By contrast, over 96% of U.S. hospitals were using an EHR, meaning adoption among large healthcare institutions has been much faster. Considering that hospitals now employ 70% of physicians, it adds up that about 9 in 10 doctors are using an EHR. 

11 benefits of EHRs

Electronic health records can help you provide higher quality and safer care for patients while making your organization more efficient. 

As you read the following list of benefits, ask yourself: “Are EHRs providing this benefit in my practice?” If the answer is “no,” contact your EHR vendor or discuss this with your team or institution. Inquire about ways to use your technology differently, so you’re reaping the intended benefits of EHRs. 

The federal government incentivized the switch to EHRs because they promised the following benefits:

  1. Provide accurate, up-to-date, and complete information about patients at the point of care. 
  2. Enable quick access to patient records for more coordinated, efficient care. 
  3. Make it easy to share electronic information with patients and other clinicians securely. 
  4. Help providers more effectively diagnose patients, reduce medical errors, and provide safer care.
  5. Improve patient and provider communication, as well as health care convenience. 
  6. Enable safer, more reliable prescribing. 
  7. Help promote legible, complete documentation and accurate, streamlined coding and billing. 
  8. Enhance privacy and security of patient data. 
  9. Help providers improve productivity and work-life balance. 
  10. Enable providers to improve efficiency and meet their business goals. 
  11. Reduce costs through decreased paperwork, improved safety, reduced duplicate testing, and improved health. 

Some physicians will read this list and think, “Yes, that’s exactly my experience with my EMR.” But others may feel like their EMR has provided more headaches than benefits. 

For example, has your EMR streamlined coding and billing? Has it helped you reduce medical errors? Has it improved your work-life balance? 

If you’re not experiencing one of these EHR benefits, it’s time to make a change. Get support from your staff, institution, or EHR vendor to ensure you’re using your EHR as effectively as possible.

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