Physicians' Use of Electronic Medical Records: Barriers and Solutions

March/April 2004
Miller, R.H., and I., Sim

Health Affairs-March/April 2004

The electronic medical record (EMR) is an enabling technology that allows physician practices to pursue more powerful quality improvement programs than is possible with paper-based records. However, achieving quality improvement through EMR use is neither low-cost nor easy. Based on a qualitative study of physician practices that had implemented an EMR, we found that quality improvement depends heavily on physicians' use of the EMR-and not paper-for most of their daily tasks. We identified key barriers to physicians' use of EMRs. We then suggest policy interventions to overcome these barriers, including providing work/practice support systems, improving electronic clinical data exchange, and providing financial rewards for quality improvement.