Wave of U.S. Physicians Planning to Adopt Electronic Medical Records, Accenture Report Finds

Well over half of non-users say they intend to implement EMRs within next two years

RESTON, Va.; March 2, 2010 – Fifty-eight percent of U.S. physicians who don’t use electronic medical records (EMRs) intend to purchase an EMR system within the next two years, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
Today, just six percent of U.S. office-based physicians use a fully functioning system.1
Accenture’s Innovation Center for Health and Institute for Health & Public Service Value worked with Harris Interactive to survey 1,000 U.S. physicians from practices of fewer than 10 practitioners to measure their views of EMRs. Approximately 15 percent of respondents were users of EMRS and 85 percent were non-users.
The survey’s primary objective was to determine concerns and perceptions of EMRs and gauge motivating factors at a time when U.S. federal legislation includes incentives for physicians who implement and use EMRs and penalties for those who do not adopt EMRs by 2015. The New York Academy of Medicine assisted with the qualitative survey and analysis.
Among the key findings:
  • 58 percent of non-users intend to purchase an EMR system within the next two years;
  • about 80 percent of physicians under the age of 55 plan to implement an EMR system within the next two years;
  • three-quarters of non-users are intrigued by the idea of purchasing an EMR system from a local hospital - if the purchase is at least partially subsidized by the hospital;
  • on average, non-users would expect a hospital/health network to subsidize about half the cost of an EMR system;
  • the key driver of EMR adoption is federal legislation - 61 percent cited federal penalties for non-adoption and 51 percent cited federal incentives;
  • non-users underestimate the cost and time requirements to implement an EMR system, but also have an exaggerated perception of difficulties in using EMR systems, compared to the actual experiences of EMR users; and
  • the vast majority of current EMR users – 90 percent – believe that their EMR system has brought value to their practice, in particular “changing the way their practice works for the better.”
The 90 percent of users who feel their EMR system has been beneficial to their practice cited the following reasons:
  • their EMR system provides an effective overview of patients’ relevant history, records and information; and,
  • their EMR system allows quick and accurate data entry.
“Our research indicates that, as intended, federal legislation is an important driver of EMR adoption among U.S. physicians,” said Dr. Kip Webb, who leads Accenture’s clinical transformation practice. “If U.S. health care providers properly implement and use EMRs more broadly, there is no doubt that EMRs can make an important contribution to improving quality of care and controlling costs.”
Accenture’s health professionals provide innovative solutions to both the private and public sectors of the healthcare industry, including integrated healthcare providers, health insurers, managed care organizations and public health organizations.  The company has thousands of professionals dedicated to helping organizations in the health industry achieve and sustain high performance.
The research featured an online survey of 1,000 randomly sampled U.S. physicians from offices of fewer than 10 practitioners and self-reported non-users and users of EMR systems. The sample was weighted to include 85 percent non-users and 15 percent users, approximating the known breakdown in EMR adoption among U.S. physicians in practices of 10 or less. The sample also was weighted to be broadly representative in terms of geographic distribution, age of physician, and type of medical practice. 
About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 176,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.58 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2009. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 2009
Lisa Meyer
+1 703-947-3846