Doctors: Electronic records improve care

Oct. 6, 2012 at 11:31 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- An overwhelming majority of U.S. physicians say electronic exchange of health data will have a positive impact on patient care, a survey indicates.

The American College of Physicians, the Bipartisan Policy Center and Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care developed the survey and analyzed the responses of 527 doctors who currently use electronic health records in their practice.

"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," Dr. Michael S. Barr of the American College of Physicians said in a statement.

"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."

However, more than 70 percent of the doctors surveyed identified several major barriers that keep physicians from exchanging information, including a lack of interoperability -- the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together -- a lack of an information exchange infrastructure, and the cost of setting up and maintaining interfaces.

The survey respondents said access to medication lists and relevant laboratory and imaging test results are commonly recognized as high priorities for transitions of care.

A majority of clinicians said "within 24 hours" a reasonable time frame for the exchange of information when a patient requires followup care or is being treated for an urgent problem, Barr said.

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