Age and EMR

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Do Elder Physicians offer more resistance To EMR?

As more and more hospitals are trying to implement EMRs, many wonder whether age plays a role in physician's enthusiasm for the new technology? Review of the literature shows that physicians nearing retirement offer more resistance. From an article in Dark Daily it was quoted by Philip Tally, M.D, that Physicians within five years of retirement may not get a return on investment. Dr.Tally a neurosurgeon was testifying at a hearing on "cost and Confidentiality;The Unforeseen challenges of Electronic Medical Records on small specialty practices" And there appears to be more physicians retiring rather than making the change to EMRs. The American Medical Association's Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the U.S., 2008 edition shows how how physician demographics are weighted toward approaching retirement. There are 921,000 physicians in this country,of which 343,200(37.2%) are over age 54. Approximately 166,000 are aged 55 to 64 and 177,200 are aged 65 and older. I have also seen at our institution elder physicians who are reluctant to embrace newer technology as it is very painful for them to adopt. They are used to paper and one physician asked me why should I spend so much time entering orders at the computer when I can enter on the paper in 5 minutes? Another factor is they are used to narrative style when they are dictating patient encounters and the coded data entry puts them off their thinking pattern. The other factor is their encounter with patient. Many got used to talking with the patient and then document either by hand or by dictating after the patient is gone. Many physicians are not computer savvy and are uncomfortable to use computer in front of the patient. So all the above factors make me wonder whether age plays a significant factor in adoption of EMRs.