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Factors affecting the adoption of EHR

July 24, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team

Enhancing the quality of life is one of the main goals of combining innovations into medicine. Medical technologies like minimally-invasive surgeries, more reliable monitoring systems, and more convenient scanning equipment are enabling patients to spend less time in healing and more time experiencing a healthy life.

It is true that with increasing digitalization, EHR has been a booming trend in healthcare, and gradually it is being adopted all across the globe in hospitals and clinics. The following are some of the factors affecting the adoption of EHR.

Internal Factors Influencing EHR Adoption

One aspect of adopting EHRs by physicians in small practices is the initial investment and continuous operational costs. The return on investment for an EHR system does not accumulate to the provider in the short run under many compensation schemes. Savings from advanced care performance and quality typically flow back to health care insurers or payers as a reduction in service use. Another significant obstacle to approval has been vendor transience, as early EHR companies are no longer in business or are in questionable financial positions. The adoption risk connected with vendor volatility could be mitigated if a common data model and uniform standards were achieved across the sector. There would yet be changeover costs in the case of vendor failure, but the initial cost of building the EHRs would not be lost. In addition to the financial costs, system changeovers negatively influence physicians' workflows and impact productivity.

Physicians have historically relied on their expert peers as their main source of information. The medical community's professional culture, which is a very close-knit social system, sees outside efforts at dictating controls as an assault on its autonomy. Further, the physician community does not, in general, have a good grasp of the quality improvement processes that are being targeted at them. For EHR adoption, the use of "thought leaders" to educate the benefits has encountered some success.

External Factors Influencing EHR Adoption

Electronic health record implementations require a disruptive change in the health care workplace. In addition to the installation of new equipment, the job responsibilities of interconnected health professionals must be modified to completely and efficiently support the technology. In developed health care system countries, like the United States, Australia, and Western Europe, EHRs have been generally adopted. There have been important governmental efforts to promote and incentivize the adoption of EHR technology. In the United States, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched several new reporting necessities for hospitals with quality enhancement and cost check as the primary goals. As reporting demands increase, the only possible mechanism for collecting such data will be the EHR.


Electronic health records hold promise in promoting health care quality and performance. However, health care is decades behind other industries in information technology (IT) adoption. Stakeholders in the medicinal community, involving the management and other payers, have highlighted the vital need to adopt IT systems. With pandemics like COVID-19, the need for innovation in healthcare has risen (See How physicians are using EHR for COVID-19 treatment). Health IT and EHR adoption will continue to grow in the coming years.

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