U.S. physicians are not nearly as sold on the benefits of healthcare IT as are their international counterparts, according to an Accenture survey of more than 3,700 doctors across eight countries.
However, the majority of doctors in all the countries surveyed said they believed that healthcare IT provided some common benefits, including:
Increased access to quality data for clinical research (70.9%)
Improved coordination of care (69.1%)
Reduced medical errors (66%)
But U.S. physicians rated the benefits of electronic medical records (EMR) — and health information exchange (HIE) specifically — lower than did their international colleagues:
45% believed that healthcare IT will improve diagnostic decisions (vs 61% globally)
45% believed that technology leads to improved health outcomes for patients (vs 59% globally)
47% believed that healthcare technology has improved the quality of treatment decisions (vs 61 % globally)
A generational divide also exists: Physicians over age 50 who are not actively using healthcare IT rate benefits even lower. The Accenture study found that 65% of these doctors think EMR and HIE will improve care coordination, and 68% thought that they would offer better access to quality data for clinical research, compared with 72% and 73%, respectively, for doctors under 50.
As the U.S. government strives to increase the adoption of meaningful use standards, it will need to consider physician perceptions of healthcare IT benefits.