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Survey: U.S. Physicians Slow to Adopt HIT

February 5, 2009
by root
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A new analysis by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund of HIT deployment in seven industrialized countries finds that physicians’ adoption of health IT is highly variable, with the United States lagging well behind the other countries.

The study also found that physicians with greater IT capacity were more likely to report feeling well prepared to manage patients with chronic illnesses. Use of electronic records ranges from nearly all physicians in the Netherlands to only 23 percent in Canada and 28 percent in the U.S., according to the survey.

The authors point out that health systems that promote development of information system infrastructure are better able to address coordination and safety issues, particularly for patients with multiple chronic conditions, as well as to maintain satisfaction among the primary care physician workforce.

Data for the analysis was obtained from the 2006 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians, which involved 6,536 physicians in seven countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K., and the United States.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency.

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One of the reasons for slow adoption might be the cost of extracting data for state reporting. This is typically a customization of the software and has significant costs associated with it. If state reporting was uniform across all 50 states and if the states would stop changing reporting requirements it would be much less of a financial burden.

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