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The digital doctor is “in”

Accenture eight-country survey of doctors shows significant increase in healthcare IT usage

Overview

Our 2012 survey among 3,700 doctors in eight countries reveals that today’s doctors are going digital—now more than ever before. In fact, the survey shows a spike in healthcare IT usage across all countries surveyed (Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States).

The survey compares findings from 2011 to reveal prevailing perceptions among doctors today, and it shows trends across areas of healthcare IT. Based on this year’s findings that show increasing levels of adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) and health information exchange (HIE), the digital doctor is in—and is here to stay.

Globally, the number of physicians who describe themselves as “routinely” accessing clinical data about patients seen by different health organizations has increased by 42 percent (rising from 33 percent of doctors surveyed in 2011, to 47 percent in 2012).

Background

Today’s doctors are turning more often to their PCs for clinical data. For example, the global number of physicians “routinely” entering patient notes electronically has increased overall by 14 percent in the past year. The US showed the largest increase in the number of doctors electronically entering patient notes, either during or after consultations, moving from 58 percent to 78 percent.

Globally, the number of digital doctors who “routinely” e-Prescribe (electronically send prescriptions to pharmacies) increased by 17 percent. Singapore (36 percent), the US (33 percent) and Spain (32 percent) showed the largest increases in e-Prescribing. England and Canada showed no significant change.

Certain countries also showed an increase in sending order requests to laboratories. Singapore had the highest increase at 75 percent, with the US following at 21 percent.

Analysis

According to the 2012 Accenture Doctors Survey, healthcare IT and health information exchange (HIE) are taking hold globally. It is encouraging to see that the rise of the digital doctor is happening in the eight countries surveyed. These countries have matured in either their routine use of HIE, adoption and use of healthcare IT—or both—over the past year.

Doctors in the US and Singapore saw increases in both adoption of healthcare IT and HIE from 2011 to 2012, and doctors in Spain and the US showed the highest adoption of healthcare IT and HIE for 2012. See where all eight countries stand on the maturity index.

Our 2012 survey also examines the differences in maturity between primary and secondary care doctors.

The findings show an increase in healthcare IT and HIE adoption among both types of physicians, particularly in the US, and also Singapore.

  • Primary care: Primary care physicians in the US, Canada and Singapore saw increases in adoption of healthcare IT and HIE from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, Spain and England continue to have high healthcare IT and HIE adoption among primary care physicians.

  • Secondary care: Among secondary care physicians, adoption of healthcare IT and HIE increased in Singapore, France and the US from 2011 to 2012.

Recommendations

There is a good prognosis for electronic medical records (EMR) and health information exchange (HIE). Doctors across all eight countries believe EMR and HIE enable benefits.

The top four areas where doctors surveyed see the most positive impact are:

  1. Reduction of medical errors (76 percent globally, up 4 percent from last year)

  2. Better access to quality data for clinical research (74 percent)

  3. Improved cross-organizational working processes (74 percent)

  4. Improved quality of treatment decisions (74 percent)

The areas where physicians feel the use of EMR and HIE has had a positive impact are primarily consistent with 2011. See the top 10 functions where doctors perceive a positive impact in this chart.

The trend toward IT-enabled healthcare is expected to continue, as doctors continue to go digital. And as the adoption and usage of EMR and HIE continues to rise, there will be greater penetration of electronic health records.

According to our 2012 survey, eight out of 10 physicians agree that they are committed to promoting electronic health records in their clinical practices—because they believe in it. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of physicians surveyed agree that electronic health records are integral to effective patient care today, and eight out of 10 physicians agree that electronic health records will become integral to effective patient care in the next two years.

Although the maturity levels of healthcare IT adoption vary across the eight countries surveyed, there is one common denominator: doctors today believe in the benefits of healthcare IT and, therefore, will continue to make it part of their practice.

HEALTHCARE IT

How do US doctors perceive healthcare IT?
Accenture survey shows a US appetite for electronic medical records (EMR) and other healthcare technologies to improve clinical care

Accenture conducted an online survey of 3,700 doctors across eight countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States. Approximately 500 doctors per country (200 for Singapore) participated in the survey, which assessed doctors’ attitudes and perceptions on the benefits of health information and communications technology.

Key study findings for US physicians revealed that over the last two years, doctors’ use of healthcare IT and health information exchange (HIE) is rising. US doctors are embracing the use of these technologies, despite the fact that many agree the use of HIE, specifically, does not reduce organizational cost as anticipated.

Nevertheless, doctors state they think they have achieved some important HIE benefits such as improved decision-making and the reduction of medical errors. Additionally, US doctors are embracing the Internet as they are the most avid readers of online forums, among doctors in all eight countries surveyed, and are more apt to view online videos.

Doctors uniformly agree that cost is the main barrier to electronic medical record (EMR) adoption, and patients should have at least some access to and be able to update elements of their EMR.

While doctors in the United States report many benefits of health information exchange (HIE), such as improved decision-making ability and reduced medical errors since 2011, it appears many hoped-for economic benefits have dropped-off in the past year. Fewer doctors believed reduced service costs, reduced patient wait times and reduced risk of litigation. Moreover, improvements in the ability to see more patients daily and achieve a better work-life balance were realized; in fact, the level of perceived benefits in these areas appears to be declining.

In both 2011 and 2012, all US doctors surveyed indicate the main barrier to electronic medical records (EMR) and HIE adoption is cost.

While issues regarding privacy and security of patient information have remained a concern to doctors internationally, 2012 saw an increase among doctors in the US who ranked this issue as a growing concern. In the US, there is also more concern about ease in using EMR systems, loss of productivity, and the lack of staff training to use these systems.

Doctors are embracing the use of electronic medical records (EMR). Globally, as well as in the US, most physicians use EMR (91 percent and 93 percent, respectively). In both cases, more than half use it in their own practice.

Many doctors in the US (the country most open to patient access) state that patients should be able to update information such as new medications and personal medical history in their electronic medical record. Doctors in the US, as well as those in the other study countries, however, are less enthusiastic about patients updating lab test results.

Interestingly, the majority of physicians in the eight countries surveyed feel that the quality of patient care throughout the healthcare system has improved due to the use of EMR. Physicians in the US, however, are least likely to feel this way.

Accenture’s The Digital Doctor is “In” provides an overview of the 2012 Accenture Doctors Survey and compares findings from last year’s survey to reveal prevailing perceptions among doctors today, and show trends across areas of healthcare IT. Based on this year’s findings that show increasing levels of adoption of EMR and HIE, the digital doctor is in—and is here to stay.

According to the 2012 Accenture Doctors Survey, healthcare IT and health information exchange (HIE) are taking hold globally. It is encouraging to see that the rise of the digital doctor is happening in the US, and in all of the eight countries surveyed. These countries have matured in either their routine use of HIE, adoption and use of healthcare IT—or both—over the past year.

The 2012 Accenture Doctors Survey also examined the differences in maturity between primary and secondary care doctors. The findings showed an increase in healthcare IT and HIE adoption among both types of physicians, particularly in the US, and also Singapore.

VIEW THE SURVEY [PDF]

HEALTH RECORDS

Patient access to electronic health records
Accenture doctor survey reveals most US doctors believe patients should help update their electronic health records, but shouldn't have access to their full record.

What exactly does the doctor order when it comes to patient access to electronic health records? A new Accenture survey shows that most US doctors want patients to actively participate in their own healthcare by updating their electronic health records.

However, only about a third of physicians surveyed (31 percent) believe their patients should have access to their full health record. These findings were consistent among more than 3,700 doctors surveyed by Accenture in eight countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.

On behalf of Accenture, Harris Interactive conducted an online survey of 3,700 physicians across eight countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States. The survey included 500 doctors per country (200 from Singapore) and assessed physician’s adoption, utilization and attitudes toward healthcare IT. The research was conducted between November and December 2012.

Only about a third of US doctors surveyed (31%) think patients should have full access to their electronic health records. Most doctors (64%) believe patients should have limited access, and 4 percent believe patients should have no access to their electronic health records.

US doctors were the most favorable toward patients updating some or all of the information in their electronic health records. While nearly all doctors surveyed agree that patients should update some information, such as allergic episodes and demographics, US doctors were also open to patients revising other information, such as new medications and personal medical history.

“Many physicians believe that patients should take an active role in managing their own health information, because it fosters personal responsibility and ownership and enables both the patient and doctor to track progress outside scheduled appointments,” said Mark Knickrehm, senior global managing director of Accenture Health. “Several US health systems have found that the benefits outweigh the risks in allowing patients open access to their medical records, and we expect this trend to continue.”

According to the Accenture survey, the vast majority of US doctors believe that patients should be able to update some or all of the standard information in their health record, including demographics (95 percent), family medical history (88 percent), medications (87 percent) and allergies (85 percent). And, many doctors (81 percent) even believe that patients should be able to add some clinical updates to their record, such as new symptoms and self-measured metrics, including blood pressure and glucose levels. Meanwhile, nearly half of U.S. doctors (47 percent) believe patients should not be able to update their lab test results.

In fact, nearly half of doctors surveyed (49 percent) believe that giving patients access to their records is crucial to providing more effective care. However, only 21 percent of doctors surveyed currently allow patients to have online access to their medical summary or patient chart, the most basic form of a patient’s record.

More than half of doctors surveyed (53 percent) believe that the introduction of electronic health records has improved the quality of patient care, and the overwhelming majority (84 percent) say they are somewhat or strongly committed to promoting electronic records in their clinical practice. Most (77 percent) believe the right investments in adopting electronic records are being made and 83 percent believe electronic records will become integral to effective patient care in the next two years.

VIEW THE FINDINGS [PDF]

Accenture Doctors Survey

An Accenture survey among 3,700 doctors in eight countries reveals that today’s doctors are going digital—now more than ever before. In fact, the recent Accenture Doctors Survey showed a spike in healthcare IT usage across all countries surveyed (Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States).

The Accenture survey compares findings from last year’s survey to reveal prevailing perceptions among doctors today, and show trends across areas of healthcare IT. Based on this year’s findings that show increasing levels of adoption of EMR and HIE, the digital doctor is in—and is here to stay.

Digital Doctor is “In

Accenture eight-country survey of doctors shows significant increase in healthcare IT usage.

How Do US Doctors Perceive Healthcare IT

Accenture survey shows a US appetite for electronic medical records (EMR) and other healthcare technologies to improve clinical care.

Patient Access to Electronic Health Records: What Does the Doctor Order?

Accenture survey reveals most US doctors believe patients should help update their electronic health records, but shouldn't have access to their full record.

Implications for Health Systems

The increase use of healthcare IT among doctors is providing opportunities for greater connectivity, collaboration and coordination of patient care across the healthcare industry.

Accenture’s Health Leaders, Chris Mirro, Kelly Rakowski and John Morris take a look at the results of Accenture’s Doctors Survey and discuss the implications for hospitals and health systems, health plans, and US State Agencies.

In this video series they discuss ways health plans can leverage data from healthcare IT to provide new product offerings, the improvement of collaboration across multiple providers, and how US State Agencies can better connect clinical data with administrative data to improve the quality of patient care.

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