(HealthDay News) — Almost 80% of doctors in the United States have switched from paper to electronic health records (EHRs), new government statistics show.

By 2012, almost 72% of physicians had made the change, compared to just under 35% in 2007, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, the number of doctors using EHRs has increased even more, lead researcher Esther Hing, a statistician at the CDC’s U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, told HealthDay

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“In 2013, 78% of physicians were using electronic health record systems,” she said. “We are reaching nearly all the doctors.”

Of the doctors who turned to EHRs by 2012, 39.6% used a basic system, up from 11.8% in 2007, the researchers found. And 23.5% had a fully functional system, up from 3.8% in 2007. Hing noted that the progress is largely the result of the federal government’s financial incentives to help doctors change to electronic recordkeeping.

“These incentives have had a large part in the increased adoption of these systems,” Hing said. 

However, many doctors (about 40%) aren’t using the full capabilities of their system, Hing noted. Once the system is installed, there is a steep learning curve before doctors and other staff are able to use it efficiently, she said.

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