Medical Records Institute and SNOMED release Fourth Annual Survey of Electronic Health Record Trends and Usage

Northfield 17 September 2002The Medical Records Institute (MRI) and SNOMED International have issued the results of the Fourth Annual MRI Survey of Electronic Health Record (EHR) Trends and Usage. The survey, which was compiled by MRI and sponsored by SNOMED, provides the health care industry with a balanced and objective measure of current EHR practices and meaningful insights into market directions. Among its top findings, the survey showed that the motivations for implementing EHRs have risen substantially in the last four years. The need to share patient data ranked at the top of the list, cited by 75 percent of respondents as their primary management and administrative motivating factor and by 90 percent of respondents as their top clinical motivating factor. Improving patient care and safety, reducing costs, and meeting legal and regulatory requirements were also key motivators for EHR adoption.


"The driving forces to implement EHRs have shown broad and steady growth over the last four years as health care providers seek to integrate clinical viewpoints and facilitate the sharing of patient data", stated Jeff Blair, vice president, MRI. "As a result, providers are turning to more advanced clinical applications and services in their search for the right EHR solution."

According to the survey, the EHR applications with the greatest opportunity for growth are physician order entry with clinical decision support, clinical data repositories which also support clinical codes, and clinical data repositories that support clinical images as well. The number of respondents using basic repository capabilities of storing data, text, and reimbursement codes is projected to grow from 37 percent to 67 percent over the next four years.

The Fourth Annual Survey analyses responses from 761 health care providers in three major categories: IT managers and analysts, physicians and nurses, and non-IT management. More than half of the respondents work in hospitals, with the remaining employed in ambulatory settings and integrated health delivery service organisations (IHDSOs). Ninety percent of all respondents have some role in the EHR decision-making process. Respondents were surveyed between April 15, 2002 and May 16, 2002.

"SNOMED sponsored this survey because we believe strongly in the importance of the electronic health record and its potential to improve patient safety, increase interoperability, and enhance the sharing of information", stated Diane J. Aschman, COO of SNOMED International. "We applaud the respondents for the substantial progress they have made in adopting and implementing successful EHR solutions."

The survey's key findings include strong growth projections for Web-based EHR applications and e-mail services, as well as mobile applications. A major shift in growth opportunities is expected in mobile health solutions, with order entry replacing Internet access as the most widely used application. Concerns about data security have increased steadily over the last four years, with inappropriate use by authorised users as the most commonly cited concern. And, while respondents still face barriers to implementing EHRs, including lack of funding and lack of support from medical staff, plans are in place to address those obstacles. Building consensus on strategies and plans for EHRs was the number one approach to overcoming barriers, followed by plans to educate or demonstrate the value of EHRs.

MRI supports, co-ordinates, and leads the process of creating health care information standards by conducting surveys and studies, assisting EHR developers in building alliances and acting as a voice of conscience on aspects of confidentiality, security, and social impact. Committed to promoting the development and acceptance of electronic health care since 1983, MRI has pursued this mission on a national and international basis by hosting educational programmes, including TEPR, one of the largest health information technology conferences in the world. In addition, MRI is producing two EHR Seminars for hospitals and ambulatory care providers, respectively.

SNOMED International, a division of the College of American Pathologists, is committed to the excellence of patient care through the development of a scientifically validated reference terminology, called SNOMED CT, which enables clinicians, researchers, and patients to share common concepts worldwide, across clinical specialities and sites of care.

The Comprehensive Report of the EHR Survey contains detailed data on motivations for implementing EHRs, new and emerging applications, barriers to EHR implementation, and implementation concerns. The survey also includes observations about important trends, insights into key differences by market segment or respondent role, and the names of the major vendors and consulting firms identified by the respondents for critical EHR applications or components. It can be ordered for $495,00 at the Web site of the Medical Records Institute. The Overview Version of the EHR Survey is available at no charge at the same Web location.

Leslie Versweyveld

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