Canadian clinicians report 'positive' experience with interoperability

Most Canadian healthcare professionals are enjoying a positive experience with information sharing, according to a study published this month in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.

The clinical components of interoperable electronic health records (iEHRs) are at varying levels of availability across Canada. All provinces and territories have at least two of four clinical components (diagnostic imaging, lab test results, dispensed drugs and clinical reports/immunizations) available; five provinces/territories have all four components available. About half of healthcare professionals (250,000) in the country indicate that they electronically access data from outside their main practice settings.

The researchers, affiliated with Canada Health Infoway, which tracks EHR use in Canada, conducted a series of surveys of 2,316 iEHR users in six Canadian provinces and territories between 2006 and 2014 to determine what iEHR users thought of their experiences with data exchange. They found overwhelmingly positive results.   

The overall ratio of positive to neutral/mixed to negative experiences for information quality was 19:1:2. The ratios for user satisfaction, productivity and quality of care were 13:1:1, 14:3:1 and 15:2:1, respectively. Respondents reported positive experiences with ease of obtaining information, accuracy of information and efficiency.

“This study suggests many directions for future evaluations of health information exchange," the researchers said. "Studies on sharing particular types of information and specific clinical settings suggest that benefits tend to grow over time, as adoption grows and users gain experience and functionalities or improvements in systems and workflows adapt to user needs. Future studies could confirm if this applies in more complex information exchange environments and identify key enablers and barriers to progress."

To learn more:
- here’s the study