A team of independent evaluators from The Center for Research in Family Medicine and Primary Care found that health information technology, such as EHRs, Web portals and chronic disease registries, can be implemented by a range of family practices, including small and rural practices.
- Small, private practices were successful in implementing electronic health records.
- Rural practices were able to successfully implement a range of health information technology, including EHRs, patient portals and disease registries.
- While financial issues presented barriers, small practices needed assistance in making decisions about software capability and selecting an EHR and related technology.
- Some practices needed assistance in implementing an EHR and integrating new work processes into the practice routine. Nearly all of the NDP practices reported that implementing the EHR was more complicated and time-consuming than they anticipated.
"Small and/or rural practices may be better positioned to adopt technology because they are usually very nimble and self-sufficient," the evaluators said. "Also, the adoption of technology has usually been their own decision, not thrust upon them, so it is viewed as a personal investment. Because the private practices do not have the support system of a large system, the adoption of technology is viewed almost as a survival skill."