Few Texas Physicians Forego HIT, Survey Shows
By David Doolittle

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Raise your hand if your practice uses an electronic health record (EHR) system.

Go ahead, don’t be shy.

By this point there should be a lot of hands up. In fact, 85 percent of you should have those hands in the air, according to the Texas Medical Association’s June survey of the state’s physicians.

TMA surveys Texas physicians every two years to identify emerging issues, to track the impact of practice and economic changes, to assess physician priorities, and to identify trends that need to be addressed through TMA’s advocacy efforts. (See select TMA survey results going back to 2009 on the TMA website.)

In June, TMA sent the survey to more than 44,000 physicians to find out about your opinions and experiences with health information technology (HIT). We want to ensure that HIT – including EHR, e-prescribing, and health information exchange (HIE) – has a positive impact on you, your patients, and your practices.

Preliminary results show that HIT plays a large and increasing role in the modern practice of medicine. However, you told us, the systems still have limitations.

Among the findings:  

  • The percentage of physicians who use an EHR has steadily increased over the years, from 51 percent in 2009 to 85 percent this year;
  • 78 percent of EHR users do their own data entry, a time-consuming process that can lead to physician burnout;
  • The majority of those who don’t use an EHR cited cost (65 percent), security (53 percent), and reliability (52 percent) as their biggest concerns;
  • 55 percent said their EHRs performed as promised;
  • 47 percent of EHR users also use electronic prescriptions for controlled substance (EPCS), with 94 percent of those EPCS users prescribing through their EHR’s tool; and
  • 40 percent of physicians who don’t use EPCS said it wasn’t supported by their EMR, and another 19 percent said it was cost prohibitive.  

While there is still much work to be done before EHRs add the value promised, we have come a long way. TMA uses this data multiple ways, with the first being advocacy. TMA’s HIT Committee also will review the results at its next meeting to discuss creating educational materials and other resources to ensure HIT serves Texas physicians effectively.  

If you have not taken the survey, there is still time. 

2018 surveys have been sent monthly starting in January and will continue until September. And you’re going to want to complete each survey. Why? Because physicians who complete every monthly survey in 2018 will be entered to win one of five Apple iPads. 

So check your email inboxes for the surveys. If you have not received them and would like to be added to the mailing list, contact Trina Bean, TMA’s health care data analyst, at trina.bean[at]texmed[dot]org.

And while you’re at it, look out for July’s survey on how you are affected by hospital relationships. That was sent this week.

If you need an incentive to take the July survey, you’ll be eligible to win one of five $50 Amazon.com gift certificates if you complete it by Wednesday, July 18.

Be on the lookout for the full report and analysis on the surveys in early 2019.


Last Updated On

July 13, 2018

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EHRs | HIE | Surveys

David Doolittle

Editor

(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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