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HIMSS 2013 survey finds clinicians mostly support health IT tools

Nurses, physicians and pharmacists have been able to improve patient care and communication among their colleagues with greater access to health IT tools and applications, according to an industry survey released at HIMSS 2013.

Despite general improvements, health IT tools have not changed end-of-shift workflow or decreased the time it takes to prepare reports at the end of the shift, said many respondents to the HIMSS 2013 Impact of Health IT (iHIT) study. Conducted by HIMSS and HIMSS Analytics, the survey asked more than 500 clinicians whether automated processes improved access to information and if that access helped them in their work.

Of the respondents, 80% were highly likely to say health IT tools helped them process information and improved access to data that increased safe patient care. Pharmacists were more likely than nurses or doctors to praise the use of health IT.

But 67% agreed nurses’ access to electronic information has given them greater ability to independently make decisions, and most doctors, 74%, said health IT applications improved their ability to assume care for patients being admitted or added to their caseload.

Doctors and nurses were most likely to agree that the tools have not improved their end-of-shift workflow, however. Respondents working within an organization with a more complex IT environment were more likely to say health IT applications helped them at the end of their shifts.

The survey updates HIMSS Analytics’ 2006 iHIT Nursing Study. In the last six years, 77% of hospitals have achieved Stage 3 status on the HIMSS Analytics electronic medical record adoption model. “Stage 3 represents an important threshold because it represents the minimum level at which organizations begin to use key nursing applications such as clinical documentation and clinical decision support with error checking,” the organization said in the 2013 survey report.

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