Health IT ease of use not improving, docs say

Most physicians find implementing the technology and changes in practice required by Affordable Care Act challenging, according to a new survey from Wolters Kluwer Health.

More than 300 practicing physicians in primary care, family medicine and internal medicine responded to the poll. They cited their three biggest business challenges as managing shifting reimbursement models with payers (91 percent), financial management (90 percent) and spending time with patients (88 percent).

Eighty-four percent said the changes required from health reform were either very or somewhat challenging, according to an announcement.

Other findings:

  • More than half agree that progress is being made to harness technology to improve patient safety and care quality
  • Fifty-one percent see progress in the use of EHRs to advance evidence-based medicine
  • Most are still frustrated with technology in the areas of ensuring ease of use (56 percent), improving patient relationships (61 percent) and increasing efficiency/saving time (66 percent), and
  • When asked about their top focus areas for the next three to five years, physicians cite increasing their practice's efficiency (48 percent), exploring different business models such as mergers or hospital affiliation (34 percent), and adopting technology to improve clinical decision- making (31 percent).

The Medical Group Management Association has been advocating the hiring of dedicated IT professionals in medical practices to smooth the transition to technology required in health reform. The implementation of ICD-10 in particular has been slow going for doctor's offices. In a poll the association released in June, just 4.8 percent of more than 1,200 responding practices said they had made "significant" progress in implementing the new coding system.

In a survey by the eHealth Initiative, nearly 60 percent of clinics and physician practices said they expect a significant decline in revenue with ICD-10.  What's more, one in three clinicians said they had no specific goals to leverage ICD-10 other than for claims processing.

To learn more:
- read the report from Wolters Kluwer Health
- here's the announcement

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