News Feature | January 28, 2015

EHR Use Not Always Synonymous With Better Care

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Physician-Led HIE

Simply because a provider uses EHR technology does not mean it results in coordinated care, finds says a recent study.

A study recently published in Medical Care find physicians who use an EHR don’t always see improved care results. Although 70 percent of the surveyed physicians use EHRs, about half of them don't routinely receive the data necessary to coordinate patient care effectively.

Health Data Management reports researchers used data from 4,500 office-based physicians who had responded to a nationally representative 2012 EHR survey. Of those surveyed, 33 percent of physicians had an EHR system and shared patient health information electronically. Another 39 percent had an EHR system but did not share patient data electronically and about 25 percent met neither of these criteria. Additionally:

  • 64 percent said they routinely received the results of patient visits with healthcare providers outside their practice
  • 46 percent received information on patients referred from other practices
  • 54 percent received hospital discharge information

“For all three types of information, roughly one-third of physicians reported receiving the information but not routinely,” lead author Chun-Ju Hsiao, of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality wrote.

Forty-eight percent of physicians who used HIT routinely received information on patients referred from other practices. Only 40 percent of those who did not use HIT did the same. Using HIT did not significantly affect receipt of hospital discharge information.

“The study findings highlight the continuing challenges to using health information technology to coordinate care among providers,” said Dr. Hsiao.

“Although a higher percentage of physicians using HIT received patient information necessary for care coordination than those who did not use HIT, more than one third did not routinely receive the needed patient information at all,” concluded researchers.