Cost, usability keep many docs skeptical of health IT

About half of physicians responding to a Wolters Kluwer survey said their practices had embraced health information technology, including clinical decision support tools. But 44 percent of the respondents said they still had a long way to go in health IT.

Among the obstacles to greater adoption of IT, the physicians said, were the expense of the technology (40 percent); too much data and not enough actionable information (32 percent); the fact that HIT is too hard to learn/takes too much time to learn (27 percent); and the fact that IT can be too hard to use at the point of care (24 percent).

The latter issue might be even more widespread, judging by the fact that 90 percent of the respondents wished they had more time to spend with patients. The majority of respondents viewed this factor as the greatest impediment to doctor-patient communications.

Fifty-three percent of the respondents viewed the increased access of their patients to health information favorably. These doctors felt that the information improved their relationships with patients and led to more productive discussions. But one in five physicians said that their patients' enhanced access to medical information had been detrimental because it produced misinformation and incorrect self-diagnoses.

The survey found that search engines such as Google and Yahoo are among the top resources for physicians to stay current with new findings on the diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care of patients. Sixty-three percent of physicians reported that they occasionally or frequently changed their initial decisions related to patient care based on information they accessed via online resources and support tools. Professional journals and colleagues remained the most frequent sources of information on medical research.

Overall, the majority of respondents said they'd seen improvements in both the efficiency and quality of care over the past two years. But 42 percent did not think that efficiency had increased, and 37 percent did not believe the quality of care had improved in that time frame.

To learn more:
- read the Wolters Kluwer press release
- check out the Health Data Management story