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New survey: Physicians most likely to make patient notes, prescriptions in electronic systems

Physicians have come a long way in a short time in getting comfortable working with EHR systems and other healthcare technology.

Nearly 80% of U.S. physicians say they are more proficient with EHRs than they were two years ago. American doctors made up 601 of the more than 2,600 physicians from six countries that participated in an Accenture survey about caregivers’ attitudes toward health IT.

U.S. physicians were also asked to report which electronic healthcare services they used during a care episode. The most common response was recording patient notes, which was an answer given by 89% of respondents. Using clinical results to populate EHRs and e-prescribing were both cited by 83% of physicians. Those three answers were the same three pieces of health IT that the most physicians believe do the most to help them provide patients with quality care. Nearly two-thirds of physicians said entering patient notes electronically benefits patient care, while 50% and 34% felt the same way about e-prescribing and using clinical results to populate patients’ EHRs, respectively.

Accenture’s survey report also included data on which electronic services used by physicians have experienced the largest jump the last three years. The top three are as follows:

  •  In 2012, only 13% of U.S. physicians said they routinely used electronic methods to communicate with patients. Three out of ten physicians said they do the same in 2015.
  • Nearly a third consistently receive electronic notifications when one of their patients is treated at another healthcare facility, up from 19% in 2012.
  • The percentage of physicians that use clinical decision support systems rose from 24% to 34% during that same period.

The survey also asked physicians which electronic healthcare services are available to their patients. More than half answered that patients can now ask for prescription refills, securely communicate with their caregiver through email, access their medical records and receive reminders for follow-up appointments. Use of those services increased at least 35% between 2012 and 2015.