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Health Aff (Millwood). 2004 Mar-Apr;23(2):116-26.

Physicians' use of electronic medical records: barriers and solutions.

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  • 1Institute for Health and Aging, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


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.

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