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Docs with Health IT Less Likely to Accept New Patients

November 24, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The more health IT systems a doctor has in their office, the less likely they are to accept new patients, according to the findings of a new study.

The study, from researchers at the University of Michigan, looked at a cross-sectional survey of Michigan primary care physicians (PCPs) from the specialties of pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine. They examined the number of doctors who anticipated taking on new patients vs. those who had implemented health IT systems. What they found was that those with the greatest number of health IT systems were the least likely to take new patients.

The researchers have several theories for why this might be the case. In some cases, more health IT systems could mean longer patient encounters and less resources to distribute. In other cases, the researchers say it comes down to size when determining whether an EHR or health IT system can make a practice more efficient. Bigger practices will benefit more, whereas smaller offices will not.

The researchers discovered one caveat.  The finding that more health IT means doctors are less likely to take on new patients was limited to those with private insurance. When it came to Medicare and Medicaid, the findings were not applicable. They say this was the case because those patients provide a more predictable source of revenue.

The research was published in The American Journal of Managed Care.


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