Survey Finds Clinicians Positive About Electronic Exchange

The majority of clinicians believe that electronic exchange of health information will play a positive role in improving patient care quality, according to a recent survey released by the Washington, DC-based think tank Bipartisan Policy Center. “Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care” represents what clinicians view as their needs and preferences when it comes to electronic health information, according to the report’s executive summary.

The Bipartisan Policy Center collaborated with the physician-led group Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care, which works to support the transformation of healthcare with health IT, to develop and analyze the survey.

Key findings of the report include:

  • “A majority of clinicians believe that electronic exchange of health information will have a positive impact on health care.” Areas in which the electronic exchange of health information is expected to facilitate improvement include patient care quality, care coordination, and meeting the demands of new care models.
  • “About 70 percent of clinicians surveyed believe that the lack of interoperability and an exchange infrastructure…are major barriers to electronic information sharing.” These issues, along with the cost of setting up adequate interfaces, were identified as issues preventing clinicians from exchange information electronically.
  • “Access to medication lists and relevant laboratory and imaging test esults are commonly recognized as high priorities for transitions of care.” Medication lists, laboratory test results, imaging test results, discharge summaries, reason for referral, and summary of care were all identified as important types of patient health information to be communicated along the transition of care trajectory.
  • “More than half of respondents prefer that information they view as ‘essential’ get ‘pushed’ to them.” The majority of clinicians surveyed noted that they would prefer the most essential information to be pushed to them via communication methods similar to secure e-mail, retaining the ability to access the full body of information via query functions.
  • “Timeliness of information is important. A clear majority of clinicians consider ‘within 24 hours’ to be a reasonable timeframe.” Over 80 percent of the clinicians surveyed responded that information linked with a patient requiring follow-up or urgent care should be exchanged either immediately or within 24 hours. Over 70 percent felt that either 24 hours or within three business days was reasonable if the patient did not require urgent or follow-up care.
  • “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.” The majority of clinicians surveyed said they preferred a “pick and choose” approach rather than simply importing all of the information available.

Additional clinician-led organizations that collaborated on the project include the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons, AmericanEHR Partners, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems.

The results from the survey informed the findings and recommendations of another Bipartisan Policy Center report, “Accelerating Electronic Information Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care.” That report focuses on possible opportunities to accelerate electronic health information sharing for all members of a patient’s care team, according to the report summary.

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