What are the tech tools your medical practice needs to run efficiently? Earlier this year, 1,356 physicians, administrators, and staff told us through the 2012 Technology Survey, Sponsored by AT&T. Here are the must-haves, the tech to pass on, and how much your peers are paying for these tech tools.
A majority of our 2012 survey respondents are independent physicians' practices and are staying self-reliant when it comes to health IT by not joining up with a Health Information Exchange, sharing data across other healthcare systems.
Seven of 10 medical practices currently have an EHR system with 58 percent using on a day-to-day basis with patients.
Cost, ongoing shopping, and general frustration are among the top three reasons medical practices have yet to invest in an EHR, according to our survey.
Here's two tales of getting on board: Survey respondents overwhelmingly said that those who should be utilizing the EHR system are, but at the same time, a majority of practices aren't rushing out to grab and EHR just because of the federal government's "meaningful use" incentive offers.
Adding a new EHR system to your medical practice will not come without some hassles, according to respondents, with 53 percent noting a "bumpy" road to implementation. But the majority of staff remained in place, with 49 percent not changing personnel due to the addition of the tech tool.
In terms of work flow, two-thirds of respondents to this year's Technology Survey said it has made their practice operations more efficient.
Don't expect your new EHR to pay dividends right away. Thirty-two percent of survey respondents said it took up to six months to get their system rolling, with another 20 percent indicating it took up to a year at their practice.
If practices are moving to the cloud, they are doing so cautiously, as 31 percent of professionals taking our survey said they trust their EHR-based files to live outside of their physical office.
Should you own or lease your practice's EHR? According to our data, the numbers are pretty divided among products you buy, while a majority of leaseholders are paying between $250 and $500 per physician a month (or $3,000 to $6,000 per year). A close 29 percent of leaseholders are paying about $100 per physician per month, however.
Staying put: Nearly six in ten practices responding to our 2012 Technology Survey say they will only invest in additional technology on an "as-needed" basis over the next three years to five years.
Medical practice professionals remain an active, on-the-go bunch. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents say they use mobile devices at their practice, with an overwhelming majority finding what they need on their smartphones. Also of note, 45 percent of respondents are relying on tablets like the iPad, that’s more than double the 20 percent who said they used this technology in our 2011 survey.
Info on the go: Researching drug information, journal articles, and treatments and diagnoses top the list of reasons our survey respondents rely on their mobile devices at their medical practices.
Making patient connections: Use of patient portals and social media increased in our 2012 survey when compared with last year's results. Portal use surged 10 percent over 2011, while social media took a more modest jump, up 4 percent among users of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms.