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Survey: Clinicians Say Interoperability Barrier to HIE

October 5, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a recent survey from the Washington D.C.-based Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), clinicians believe that electronic exchange of health information will have a positive impact on healthcare, but many say interoperability is a huge barrier to its success. Of the clinicians surveyed, about 70 percent say the lack of an information exchange infrastructure, and the cost of setting up and maintaining interfaces and exchanges will prevent health information exchange (HIE) from happening.

The survey, which was fielded by various provider-based organizations, looked to find out the needs and preferences of clinicians regarding electronic health information: what type of information they want in various care transitions, how they would like to receive it, and how quickly.

In other findings, more than 80 percent of clinicians surveyed believe that medication lists, relevant laboratory test results, and relevant imaging test results are very important or essential types of patient health information to receive during transitions of care. They also found discharge summaries, a reason for referral, and a summary of care document to be important as well.

Most respondents advocated in favor of a secure email function. When asked how they would like to receive or access information from other care settings to support clinical decision making, more than half of clinicians surveyed indicate they would like only the information they characterize as “essential” to be “pushed” to them with the ability to access the rest of the information through a query.

In terms of timeliness, “a clear majority” said within 24 hours is a reasonable timeframe for the exchange of information when a patient requires follow-up care or is being treated for an urgent problem. In terms of how clinicians want to update their EHRs (if they currently use them) with information received from an external source, 57 percent of clinicians surveyed said they prefer to selectively “pick and choose” the external information they want to integrate into their own EHR.

The complete results of the survey can be found here: http://bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Clinician%20Survery_format%20%282%29.pdf

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