AHRQ survey: Practices continue to struggle with HIE

If the early results of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality survey are a reliable indicator, physician practices are continuing to struggle with health information exchange. 

In the just-released preliminary results of the 2010 AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture, practices reported problems with the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of patient data at least half the times they've exchanged electronically with other healthcare entities in the past year. Specifically, the 470 medical offices surveyed said they had HIE problems 55 percent of the time with outside laboratories or imaging centers, 50 percent of the time in transactions with other medical offices, 52 percent of the time with pharmacies and in 58 percent of exchanges with hospitals, CMIO reports.

Many of the participating medical offices are far along with health IT implementations. Some 82 percent of those surveyed said they had fully implemented electronic appointment scheduling and 59 percent reported having electronic access to lab or imaging test results for their patients. A small majority said they had EMRs in place, while 41 percent had electronic ordering capabilities, with 37 percent saying they had fully implemented CPOE for tests, imaging or medical procedures.

Some of the non-IT findings may be more shocking, though. An eye-opening 86 percent of respondents said they used the wrong chart for a patient at least once in the previous 12 months and 70 percent said they have had incidents of medical information being scanned, filed or entered into the wrong patient's record. The survey did show better results on other quality measures, but 44 percent still said they neglected to update at least one patient's medication list in the past year.

For more data:
- check out this CMIO story
- view AHRQ's survey table of contents, with links to data tables

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