The 2010 National Physician Survey Results are now available online. The numbers tell an interesting story regarding the adoption and use of EMRs.
There are a few provisos to keep in mind:
- The 2010 data is already over six months old, so numbers are likely a little higher than reported.
- The adoption rates refer to all physicians (GPs and Specialists) and do not separate out eligible providers based upon role, e.g. exclusion of ER physicians or Radiologists.
A total of 16.1% of physicians report using Electronic Medical Records instead of paper charts. This compares to 9.8% in 2007 (21.5% of GPs and 10.1% of specialists in 2010 vs. 12.3% and 7% respectively in 2007).
The major change was in the number of physicians reporting the use of paper charts alone (37.6% in 2010 vs. 57.9% in 2007).
A total of 34.1% of physicians reported using a combination of paper charts and EMR in 2010 vs. 26.1% in 2007. With the reduction in numbers of physicians using paper charts alone, this clearly indicates that physicians are on the move in terms of their transition to EMR. But the rate of change is still disappointing and is in part reflected by a lack of coordination of national strategy with regard to encouraging EMR adoption. Some provinces have had programs to encourage adoption for 10 years and others have yet to begin.
The numbers by province also tell a tale regarding provincial effort. Alberta is the leader in terms of physician use of EMR alone at 27.7% followed by:
Ontario — 19.8%,
BC — 18.8%,
Saskatchewan — 17.8%, and
Manitoba and Nova Scotia — 17.6%.
Only 4.2% of physicians in Quebec report using EMR alone.
I am sure there will be much analysis and report on the NPS 2010 data; however, it is clear that after 10 years of effort across a select number of provinces, we are still far from a critical mass of users.
Much more work needs to be done to collect information and report on adoption of EMRs and to encourage meaningful use of information technology and EMRs.
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