KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

U.S. Docs Adopt Digital Records But Find Sharing Information Difficult

More than two-thirds of U.S. doctors now use electronic medical records -- a substantial increase from years past -- but are finding that information is still not easily shared among medical professionals, a new study says.

Kaiser Health News: Survey: Most U.S. Primary Care Docs Using EMRs
U.S. doctors are no longer the laggards when it comes to using health information technology in their practices. But they are still more weighed down by paperwork and health care costs than many of their Western counterparts" (Rao, 11/15).

CQ HealthBeat: Despite Recent Progress, U.S. Use Of Health IT Lags Behind Some Other Countries, Commonwealth Fund Says
While more primary care doctors are adapting to health information technology to track medical records, they’re still having trouble syncing with specialists or hospital personnel to get the full picture of their patients’ care, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey released early Thursday. The survey compared 10 countries’ health systems in terms of patient access, health information technology use, communication, performance and satisfaction with the medical system. Published in the December edition of Health Affairs, the survey asked about 8,500 primary care doctors about their perceptions and experiences (McGlade, 11/15).

Medpage Today: More Docs Use EHRs, But Info Still Not Shared
The number of U.S. primary care physicians using electronic medical records increased by 50 percent in the last 3 years, but most doctors still do not receive timely information from specialists or hospitals, an international survey found. Roughly 69 percent of U.S. primary care doctors reported using EHRs in 2012 compared with 46 percent in 2009, the survey published in the journal Health Affairs found. The 2012 number put the U.S. in the middle among the 10 nations surveyed -- only 41 percent of Swiss physicians used EHRs, compared with 98 percent of Norwegian physicians. But despite the increase in their use of EHRs, only 11 percent of U.S. doctors said information they receive about their patients from specialists is timely, and only 26 percent are told by a hospital that their patient has been discharged (Pittman, 11/15).

Kansas Health Institute News: Use Of Electronic Health Records Surges In U.S., Survey Finds
More than two-thirds of U.S. primary care physicians were using electronic health records last year, a substantial increase from three years ago, when less than half had adopted the technology, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey published today. In 2012, 69 percent of primary care physicians reported using an electronic health record (EHR) system, compared to 46 percent in 2009. Among the 10 developed countries surveyed, the U.S. still lags six of them. In those six countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, EHR use is near universal (11/15).

Additionally, a survey has found that 59 percent of U.S. doctors say their patients often go without needed care because of costs --

Medscape: Primary Care Docs: Only 15% Happy With U.S. Health Care System
Among U.S. primary care physicians, 59 percent said that their patients often went without care because of costs, according a new survey released this week. In contrast, only small minorities of physicians in other developed countries reported affordability problems. The findings from the 2012 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey were published online November 16 in Health Affairs. The survey gathered responses from 8,462 primary care physicians surveyed in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In the United States, 1,012 respondents were reported (Hitt, 11/15).

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