A new study suggests that Health Information Technology (HIT) does not guarantee better care than the standard way that patients are used to. Even though 70% of doctors use EHRs, about 50% of those doctors do not regularly receive the right data to coordinate a patient’s care appropriately.
The study also uncovered that even with a higher percentage of physicians and doctors using HIT receiving pertinent information for patient’s care than doctors who did not, over 33% did not routinely get the patient information at all.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality surveyed 4,500 office-based physicians and found that only about 33% used an EHR system and also shared patient health information using electronic methods. 39% of the physicians had an EHR system but did not share their patient data electronically. About 25% did neither. This study of a large sample draws a lot of attention to the challenges of using HIT when coordinating healthcare and options between providers
The information that is to be transferred among physicians remained by fax or other non-electronic means even when it was routinely received. This proved to be the case for about 75% of doctors receiving information from other practices. As a side note, about half of that 75% was for receiving hospital discharge information. Obviously this information is very important.
Even though the coordination between healthcare providers and physicians alike needs work and the quality of technology needs improvement the concept is still good. The proper use HIT might help to make pertinent information more readily accessible and easy to understand for doctors and practices.
According to Chun-Ju Hsiao, lead researcher, “being able to exchange data electronically does not automatically associate with better care coordination if the information needed is not exchanged between providers.” Issues of cost and the interoperability of HIT systems have hindered the use of EHRs to share patient information.