Despite U.S. doctors’ increased use of technology, more than two-thirds (70 percent) of them believe that health IT has decreased the amount of time they spend with patients, according to a new survey by Accenture. The findings revealed during HIMSS15 is part of a six-country survey of more than 2,600 physicians, including roughly 600 in the United States found about three-fourths (76 percent) of those surveyed believe that interoperability of the tools currently available limits their ability to improve the quality of patient care through healthcare IT.
EMR adoption rates have reached record highs; however, the survey found fewer physicians believe that EMRs has improved treatment decisions (46 percent in 2015 vs. 62 percent in 2012), reduced medical errors (64 vs. 72 percent) and improved health outcomes for patients (46 vs. 58 percent). On the opposite end of this, nearly all U.S. doctors (90 percent) said that better functionality and easy-to-use data-entry systems are important for improving the quality of patient care through healthcare IT, more than half (58 percent) said that the electronic health record system in their organization is hard to use.
Top 5 IT capabilities that U.S. Doctors Use the Most
The survey found that the vast majority – 79 percent – of U.S. doctors are more proficient using EMRs than they were two years ago. The number of U.S. doctors who routinely use digital tools, such as secure e-mail, for communicating with patients has more than doubled since the last survey, to 30 percent, versus just 13 percent in 2012.
The five IT capabilities that U.S. doctors use the most are:
1. Entering patient notes electronically (82 percent);
2. Prescribing drugs electronically (72 percent)
3. Receiving clinical results directly into a patient’s EMR (65 percent)
4. Using electronic administration tools (63 percent)
5. Sending e-order requests to laboratories (62 percent)
Growing Demand for Patient Engagement
Driven by growing demand for patient engagement, the majority of U.S. doctors surveyed reported an increase in the services they now provide patients online. The number of physicians offering tele-monitoring devices that enable patients to monitor their health has tripled since the last survey, from just 8 percent in 2012 to 24 percent now. Many U.S. doctors now provide patients with:
– access to online medical records (55 percent)
– electronic reminders for follow-up care (55 percent)
– ability to book appointments online (46 percent)
– access to view health-related information during consultation (36 percent)
– consultations through videoconferencing (14 percent).
The survey also showed that U.S. doctors believe that allowing patients to update their own medical records increases their engagement in their own health (cited by 82 percent of respondents), improves patient satisfaction (81 percent), boosts understanding of their health conditions (72 percent), increases patient and physician communication (71 percent), and increases the accuracy of their medical records (60 percent).