HIT Use Does Not Significantly Increase Coordinated Care

Although more than 70% of physicians use electronic health records, up to half don't routinely receive the patient information needed to coordinate care effectively.

Health information technology (HIT) only slightly improves coordinated care, according to a study published in Medical Care.

An analysis of the 2012 National Electronic Health Records Survey found that while more than 70% of physicians use electronic health records (EHRs), up to half don’t routinely receive the patient information needed to coordinate care effectively.

"The study findings highlight the continuing challenges to using HIT to coordinate care among providers," author Chun-Ju Hsiao, PhD, MHS, of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, said in a statement.

The authors also found that physicians using HIT were not much more likely to receive necessary patient information than providers who did not use HIT. While 48% of HIT users routinely receive patient data from other practices, 40% of physicians not using HIT also routinely received information on patients being referred from other practices. And using HIT did not affect the receipt of hospital discharge information, according to the study data.

Furthermore, even physicians who routinely receive patient information, many still receive it by fax or other non-electronic means.

A third of physicians with an EHR system shared patient health information, according to the survey, while 39% with an EHR system did not share data electronically. However, the authors found that the ability to exchange data did not associate better care coordination.

Almost two-thirds (64%) routinely receive patient data from visits with other healthcare providers, while 46% receive information on patients referred from other practices, and 54% receive hospital discharge information. A third of physicians receive the patient information, but did not classify it as routine.

"These results suggest that EHR adoption and the capability for electronic sharing of patient health information among office-based physicians alone may not be enough to ensure the regular sharing of key information for care coordination," Dr Hsiao and colleagues wrote.