Adoption of Electronic Health Records and Perceptions of Financial and Clinical Outcomes Among Ophthalmologists in the United States

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Abstract

Importance

Assessing the rate of electronic health record (EHR) adoption and ophthalmologists’ perceptions on financial and clinical productivity is important in understanding how to direct future design and health care policy.

Objective

To assess adoption rate and perceptions of financial and clinical outcomes of EHRs among ophthalmologists in the United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Population-based, cross-sectional study. A random sample of 2000 ophthalmologists was generated on the basis of mailing address zip codes from the 2015 American Academy of Ophthalmology US active membership database, which included more than 18 000 ophthalmologists. A survey was sent by email to assess adoption rate of EHRs, perceptions of financial and clinical productivity, and engagement with Medicare and Medicaid programs that incentivize the use of EHRs. The survey was conducted between 2015 and 2016.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Adoption rate of EHRs and perceptions of financial and clinical productivity.

Results

The adoption rate of EHRs among surveyed ophthalmologists (348 respondents) was 72.1%. The responding ophthalmologists perceived that their net revenues and productivity have declined and that practice costs are higher with EHR use. Of those who attested for stage 1 of the EHR incentive program, 83% had already or were planning to attest to stage 2, but 9% had no plans.

Conclusions and Relevance

The adoption of EHRs by ophthalmologists has more than doubled since a 2011 survey and is similar to that of primary care physicians (79%). In comparison with 2 previous surveys of ophthalmologists, respondents had more negative perceptions of EHR productivity outcomes and effect on practice costs, although financial data were not collected in this survey to support these opinions. These negative perceptions suggest that more attention should be placed on improving the efficiency and usability of EHR systems.

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