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Survey of Clinicians: Majority believe electronic exchange of health information will have positive impact on health care

American College of Physicians, other organizations release survey results

October 3, 2012 -- Survey results released today reveal that an overwhelming majority of clinicians believe that the electronic exchange of health information will have a positive impact on improving the quality of patient care, coordinating care, meeting the demands of new care models, and participating in third-party reporting and incentive programs.

The American College of Physicians (ACP), the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care developed the survey and analyzed 527 responses in the report Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care.

“The exchange of patient health information across care settings is a critical component to the success of the new models to improve care, such as the patient-centered medical home,” said Michael S. Barr, MD, FACP, MBA, who leads ACP’s Medical Practice, Professionalism & Quality division. “ACP agrees with the 78 percent of survey respondents who believe that exchanging health information will have a positive effect on clinicians’ ability to meet the demands of these new care models.”

Yet challenges remain for the widespread electronic exchange of health information. More than 70 percent of clinicians surveyed identified lack of interoperability, lack of an information exchange infrastructure, and the cost of setting up and maintaining interfaces and exchanges as major barriers, preventing clinicians from exchanging information with others.

“The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has done a lot to encourage the development of the technology needed to support the exchange of information across care settings, but we still have a long way to go,” said Dr. Barr. “These gaps are most apparent when we look at the infrastructure, or lack thereof, needed to support the exchange of information and the governance surrounding such exchange.”

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • Access to medication lists and relevant laboratory and imaging test results are commonly recognized as high priorities for transitions of care.

  • More than half of respondents prefer that information they view as “essential” get “pushed” to them, with the ability to access the rest of the information through a query.

  • Timeliness of information is important. A clear majority of clinicians consider “within 24 hours” a reasonable timeframe for the exchange of information when a patient requires follow-up care or is being treated for an urgent problem.

  • When updating the electronic health record with information received from an external source, clinicians prefer to be able to selectively pick and choose the information they want integrated.

“By categorizing clinicians’ views on the types of information they want to receive, how they want to receive it, how quickly they want to receive it, and what they want to do with it, we can support efforts to facilitate the exchange of health information,” Dr. Barr said.

The survey was fielded by AmericanEHR Partners, founded by ACP and Cientis Technologies to provide comprehensive information to support clinicians in the selection and use of EHRs; the American Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems; the American College of Surgeons; and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The clinicians who responded to the survey are predominately primary care providers who work in practice settings that include 10 physicians or less and who are electronic health record (EHR) users.

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

About AmericanEHR Partners
AmericanEHR Partners is a free online resource designed to aid the medical community with the selection, implementation, and effective use of health information technology and electronic health records. It does not endorse any electronic health record vendor. AmericanEHR Partners was founded by the American College of Physicians and Cientis Technologies and is supported by 16 medical societies and five health IT organizations with a combined membership of more than 700,000 clinicians, representing over 65 percent of physicians in the U.S. For more information on AmericanEHR Partners, visit www.americanehr.com.

About the Bipartisan Policy Center
Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a non-profit organization that drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue. With projects in multiple issue areas, BPC combines politically balanced policymaking with strong, proactive advocacy and outreach.

About Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care
Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care is a non-profit, collaborative effort led primarily by doctors -- for doctors -- to support the transformation of health care, initially through health information technology, given the foundational role it plays in improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of care.

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