Skip to content Skip to navigation

Physicians’ Exchange of Clinical Data Capabilities Vary, ONC Study Reveals

October 25, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

A new study, conducted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) researchers, detailed the effectiveness with which office-based physicians are exchanging lab and medication data.

The research, which appeared in the American Journal of Managed Care, looked at how physicians were to electronically sharing clinical information with other providers and to describe variation in exchange capability across states and electronic health record (EHR) vendors. They used data from a 2011 survey of physicians for the study, with 4326 responding.

Of the findings, one of the more interesting pieces was the overall capability of all physicians (55 percent) to send prescriptions electronically. For those physicians with an EHR, the number was up to 78 percent. There were similar disparities between all physicians and those who used an EHR:

  • 67 percent of all physicians could view electronic lab results vs. 87 percent of physicians with an EHR.
  • 42 percent could incorporate lab results into their EHR vs. 73 percent of physicians with an EHR.
  • 38 percent could provide clinical summaries to patients vs. 61 percent of physicians with an EHR.
  • 31 percent exchanged patient clinical summaries with another provider vs. 49 percent of physicians with an EHR.

“The results of this study are encouraging because they show that a majority of physicians who use EHRs can electronically exchange test results, medication data and clinical care summaries with patients, all of which are integral to better care coordination and ultimately necessary for universal interoperability,” Vaishali Patel, an ONC senior advisor and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

“As Stage 2 of Meaningful Use moves forward, it will be important to continue monitoring physicians’ exchange capabilities and actual exchange activity to ensure that health information follows the patient wherever they go."

Perhaps the most important focus on variation was around EHR vendors. Between 73 percent and 94 percent of physicians using an EHR reported that they possess the capability to eprescribe depending upon their vendor. The largest discrepancy was with physicians’ capability to send lab orders electronically, which ranged from more than one-third (38 percent) to 87 percent depending upon the EHR vendor.

There was significant variation among physician exchange capability at the state-level, the researchers found. Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Washington reported significantly higher than the national average across at least 4 out of the 6 measures of exchange. Louisiana, Nevada, and New Jersey have significantly lower rates of physician reported exchange capability across at least 4 out of the 6 measures.

Another varying factor was practice size and ownership. Practices owned by health maintenance organizations or healthcare corporations were significantly more likely to exchange all 6 types of clinical data compared with physician-owned or physician group–owned practices. Larger practice size was associated with the capability to conduct all facets of electronic lab exchange, the researchers found.

Overall, the researchers say this is a baseline study of physician capability to exchange key types of clinical information. They said there was room for improvement but also a foundation on which to build and expand physician exchange capability.

It’s the second ONC-sponsored study within the course of a month. A few weeks ago, the ONC researchers released encouraging data for advocates of the meaningful use program.

Topics

News

Medical Imaging Collaborative Aims to Bring Cognitive Computing to Radiology

June 24, 2016
A collaborative of 16 health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology vendors formed by IBM Watson aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practice.

Research: Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Prove Worthwhile in Preventing Opioid Deaths

June 24, 2016
The implementation of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) was associated with the prevention of approximately one opioid-related overdose death every two hours on average nationwide, according to a new Vanderbilt-led study published in Health Affairs.

VA Officials Discuss Modernizing EHR System During Senate Committee Hearing

June 24, 2016
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials indicated that the agency will likely look for a commercial electronic health record system during a discussion about its 40-year-old homegrown system at a Senate committee hearing this week.

Maine’s HIE Reports Strong Growth in Usage, Expansion of Analytics Capabilities

June 23, 2016
In its latest annual report, Maine’s state HIE, HealthInfoNet, reports a 52 percent growth in the number of users accessing the system since 2014 and a 69 percent increase in the number of patients whose records have been viewed across the largely rural state.

HHS Names New Members to HIT Policy and Standards Committees

June 23, 2016
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell named eight new members of the Health Information Technology Standards Committee (HITSC) and one new member to the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC).

OpenNotes and AMDIS Partner to Advance Medical Record Transparency

June 22, 2016
The Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) and OpenNotes have announced a partnership to advance transparency in health care and enhance patient and clinician communication.

McKesson Considers Merging IT Unit with Change Healthcare, Media Report Says

June 22, 2016
Health information technology (IT) vendor McKesson has held talks about merging its IT unit with healthcare technology company Change Healthcare, according to a Reuters article.

Study: 77 Percent of Healthcare Organizations Will Use Public Cloud This Year, But Security Concerns Persist

June 21, 2016
More than half of surveyed healthcare executives have reported moving “Tier 1” applications to the cloud or software-defined data centers and 77 percent said they plan to move additional systems to the public cloud this year, according to a report from HyTrust.

HL7, IHE Renew Agreement for Interoperability, FHIR Collaboration

June 21, 2016
Health Level Seven International (HL7) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) have renewed their cooperation agreement to advance the goal of interoperability of health information.

Survey: Payers, Providers Project Value-Based Reimbursement Will Eclipse Fee-for-Service by 2020

June 21, 2016
According to the results of a new survey, value-based payment has hit the tipping point, with bundled payment projected to grow rapidly in the next five years and as payers’ network strategies are changing, getting narrower and more selective. The survey results also reveal that payers and hospitals are somewhat struggling to scale these complex strategies.

HHS Announces $100M in Funding to Help Small Practices with MACRA

June 21, 2016
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $20 million each year over the next five years to fund on-the-ground Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) training and education for Medicare clinicians in individual or small group practices.

AMA CEO: “Digital Snake Oil” Remarks Have Initiated Much-Needed Discussion

June 20, 2016
The American Medical Association’s (AMA) CEO and executive vice president, James Madara, M.D., discussed further his recent comments about digital health products being “snake oil of the early 21st century.”

Provider Organizations Call on CMS to Reconsider Expanded Quality Reporting Requirements

June 20, 2016
A number of healthcare provider organizations are calling on the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider requiring hospitals to submit 15 electronic clinical quality measures (eCQM) in 2017.

HHS Agency Awards $250K Grant to Support Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

June 20, 2016
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within HHS will provide $250,000 annually for three years to help state medical boards implement the administrative and technical infrastructure of the new Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

Close to 150,000 Patient Medical Records Potentially Affected by Bizmatics Data Breach

June 17, 2016
A healthcare provider in Colorado, Vincent Vein Center, is the latest organization to notify the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) about a breach of protected health information stemming from a malicious hacker attacking Bizmatics’ data servers.

Pages