U.S. Ranked Behind Other Nations in Primary Care Areas
About 28% of U.S. primary care physicians use electronic health records, compared with 98% in the Netherlands, 92% in New Zealand, 89% in the United Kingdom, 79% in Australia and 42% in Germany, according to a study published on Thursday on the Health Affairs Web site, the Washington Post reports.
For the study, sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, researchers surveyed more than 6,000 PCPs in seven nations and found that only Canadian physicians, at 23%, used EHRs at a lower rate than U.S. physicians.
The study also found that 23% of U.S. PCPs had computerized systems to inform them of potential problems with prescription drug interactions, the lowest rate among physicians in all nations except Canada. About 93% of Dutch PCPs had such systems, the study found (Lee, Washington Post, 11/3).
In addition, the study found that 15% of U.S. PCPs received computerized alerts to provide patients with test results, compared with 53% of U.K. physicians, and that 18% of U.S. PCPs used computer systems to send patients reminders for preventive or follow-up care, compared with 93% of New Zealand and 83% of U.K. physicians.
According to the study, 20% of U.S. PCPs had the ability to produce lists of patients who are due or overdue for tests or preventive care, compared with 82% of New Zealand and 64% of German physicians. About 19% of U.S. PCPs had computerized systems to assist them with seven or more functions in clinical care, compared with 87% of New Zealand and 83% of U.K. physicians, the study found (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 11/2).
The study also found that:
- 30% of U.S. PCPs had financial incentives to improve the quality of care they provide, compared with 95% of U.K physicians;
- 40% of U.S. PCPs had arrangements for after-hours care, compared with 95% of Dutch, 90% of New Zealand, 87% of U.K., 76% of German and 47% of Canadian physicians;
- U.S. PCPs reported the highest rate of patients who had problems with out-of-pocket health care costs (Washington Post, 11/3);
- 33% of U.S. PCPs routinely provided patients with chronic diseases written instructions about care management, compared with 63% of German and 14% of Canadian physicians; and
- 9% of U.S. physicians reported long wait times for diagnostic tests, compared with 57% of U.K. and 51% of Canadian physicians.