Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

U.S., Older Physicians Skeptical of Health IT

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

U.S., Older Physicians Skeptical of Health IT

Article excerpt

Physicians in eight countries agree that health information technology has the potential to improve clinical data and care coordination while reducing medical errors, according to a new survey. However, physicians in the United States and doctors older than 50 voiced considerably more skepticism than did their younger and international colleagues about the technology's ability to improve care.

The survey, conducted by global consulting firm Accenture, exposed generational and geographic divides among physicians when it comes to their views on the benefits of health care information technology (IT). Physicians who haven't used the technology are most skeptical, but once they start to use health care IT, they begin to see those benefits, said Frances Dare, a senior executive with Accenture Health.

"It's not that physicians try it and don't like it and stop. We really do need to focus on physicians who haven't used these technologies; it's really getting across that first adoption hurdle," Ms. Dare said in an interview.

Accenture surveyed 500 doctors per country in Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States, along with 200 doctors in Singapore, in August and September 2011. The researchers measured physicians' attitudes toward health care IT, including whether they thought it would bring access to better-quality data, improved coordination, reductions in medical errors, and improved diagnostic decisions.

The survey found that nearly 71% of physicians in the eight countries surveyed think that health care IT will improve data for clinical research, and 69% think it will improve coordination of care. About two-thirds think it will lead to a reduction in medical errors, and about 65% think it will lead to better health care decisions.

However, fewer than 50% of physicians think it will lead to less litigation, and fewer than 50% think it will lead to fewer unnecessary procedures or increased speed of access to health services for patients. Because health care IT is frequently touted with promises of improved access and better coordination of care, this finding shows that physicians haven't fully bought into those promises, according to Accenture

Finally, fewer physicians in the eight countries are not certain that health care IT will lead to improved patient outcomes

Ms. …

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