Survey finds doctors making greater use of IT, but cost benefits in doubt

More doctors in England use healthcare IT and over three-quarters report improvements in effectiveness, according to research from Accenture

More doctors in England are using healthcare IT and over three-quarters report improvements in their effectiveness, according to research from Accenture.

The 2012 survey of 500 doctors in England was part of an international study of 3,700 medical practitioners in eight countries.

It revealed that, in 2012, 31% of doctors routinely used healthcare information exchanges (HIEs), which allow different health organisations to share information electronically. This was up from 29% in 2011. But only 48% thought HIE reduced costs, compared with 50% in 2011.

Electronic medical records (EMR) are now used by 82% of doctors in England. Patient care is improving as a result, according to 65% of the doctors questioned.

A quarter of doctors in England said cost was the main obstacle to them using EMR and HIE, compared to 14% in the 2011 study.

Many said they thought the security of patient information was becoming less of a barrier for using EMR and HIE, with 11% citing it as a concern in 2012 compared with 17% in 2011.

Most doctors believed electronic records were key to the government achieving a paperless NHS by 2018. 

A substantial 94% of the respondents believed giving access to electronic records to patients will improve care, but 60% think the access should be limited. Out of the eight countries surveyed – England, US, Singapore, Canada, Spain, France, Australia, and Germany – doctors in England were the most open (35%) to giving patients full access to records.

“For the second year, doctors, globally, indicate the main barrier to electronic medical records (EMR) and HIE adoption is cost,” said the report. 

"Although issues regarding privacy and security of patient information have remained a concern to doctors internationally, 2012 saw a decrease among doctors in England who ranked this issue as a concern. 

"In England, there is growing concern about cost, loss of productivity, difficulty of using EMR systems, lack of technical expertise, lack of easy access to a computer, and lack of staff training.”



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