EHRs and Easy Access to Information for Physicians. Not Quite

Patient assignment software can improve care.

More health information may be collected than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it’s accessible to physicians.

In a recent study of 300 physicians by Surescripts, only one-half of U.S. physicians said they were very or extremely satisfied with their access to patient information. The biggest complaints? Lack of access to patient information and medical adherence. The latter had the largest gap, with 83 percent of physicians saying access to that type of information is a top priority, but only 17 percent said they can easily retrieve that data electronically. The biggest reason for the disparity — the information comes from the patients themselves, resulting from memory gaps or misinformation.

In that same study, a large majority of the physicians (88 percent) said that patient history was also a top priority, but only 30 percent said they have easy access to it as well.

Another problem revolves around price transparency.

Over half of the respondents said that price transparency was a high priority for them, but only 30 percent said they had easy access to that information.

And communicating with other providers continues to plague physicians, according to researchers.

Only one-third of the respondents said they can easily determine which other care providers a patient has seen, the report state. Similarly, only 30 percent said they have a secure, electronic option to communicate with those providers. Even so, researchers also noted that patient history and communication with other providers is “essential to coordinated care.”