Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

As outlined in the recently released Bipartisan Policy Center report, Transforming Health Care: The Role of Health IT, electronic health information sharing plays a critical, foundational role in achieving the common attributes of high performance and new models of care that are designed to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, and patient experience of care.

BPC’s report, Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care, presents the results of a survey of clinicians about their needs and preferences regarding electronic health information, including the types of information they want to receive for various care transitions, how they would like to receive such information, and how quickly. The report also offers clinician views on the benefits of electronic health information sharing and the barriers to its adoption.

Their answers constitute invaluable data that will help both the public and private sectors plan, develop, and implement health information-sharing capabilities that effectively meet the needs of clinicians and the patients they serve—particularly during transitions of care.

The survey was developed and its results analyzed by Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care, a collaborative effort led primarily by doctors, for doctors, to support the transformation of health care through health IT and the American College of Physicians, the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States.

The survey was fielded by Doctors Helping Doctors, in collaboration with American EHR Partners, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Surgeons, and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS). The American Society of Clinical Oncology also provided important input to the survey report.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  1. A majority of clinicians believe that electronic exchange of health information will have a positive impact on health care;
  2. About 70 percent of clinicians surveyed believe that the lack of interoperability and an exchange infrastructure, and the cost associated with both, are major barriers to electronic information sharing;
  3. Access to medication lists and relevant laboratory and imaging test results are commonly recognized as high priorities for transitions of care;
  4. More than half of respondents prefer that information they view as “essential” get “pushed” to them, with the ability to access the rest of the information through a query;
  5. Timeliness of information is important. A clear majority of clinicians consider “within 24 hours” to be a reasonable timeframe for the exchange of information when a patient requires follow-up care or is being treated for an urgent problem; and
  6. 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.

Survey results informed findings and recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center report Accelerating Electronic Information Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care.

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