Physician Access to Information Technology Up
The percentage of U.S. physicians who have access to information technology that can perform at least four of five clinical functions almost doubled over the past four years, but many doctors still lack access to health IT that can streamline care, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Center for Studying Health System Change, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. For the report, HSC examined responses from two separate telephone surveys of members of the American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association.
The first survey, conducted in 2000-2001, included responses from about 12,000 physicians. The second survey, conducted in 2004-2005, included responses from more than 6,600 physicians.
About 21% of respondents in the 2004-2005 survey said they had access to IT that write prescriptions, compared with 11.4% in the 2000-2001 survey, the report finds. According to the report, about 65% of respondents in the 2004-2005 survey said they had access to IT that can obtain clinical guidelines, compared with 52.9% in the 2000-2001 survey.
However, almost 17% of respondents in the 2004-2005 survey said they did not have access to IT that can perform those three clinical functions or exchange data and images with other physicians or provide reminders to complete certain tasks, and only 20% said they had access to technology that can perform one of those five clinical functions, according to the report.
Joy Grossman, a senior health researcher at HSC, said that many physicians do not use IT because of the cost and time required to implement the technology (Agovino, AP/Houston Chronicle, 6/6).