Survey: Physicians See Improvements in Efficiency, Quality of Care, Yet Significant Barriers Remain

Philadelphia, PA (November 1, 2011) - Physicians in the U.S. are struggling to balance efficiency, or the business side of healthcare, and quality of patient care, with 88 percent citing this as a challenge, according to a new survey from Wolters Kluwer Health. While the majority sees improvements in efficiency and quality over the past two years, 42 percent of physicians disagree that the efficiency of providing care has increased and 37 percent disagree that quality of care has increased during this timeframe.

Among the top challenges for physicians is a lack of time with patients, with 78 percent of survey respondents naming this the top barrier to good doctor-patient communication, followed by misinformed patients and information overload, cited by 53 and 46 percent of respondents respectively.

Findings come from Wolters Kluwer Health's Point-of-Care Survey, conducted by IPSOS and targeting more than 300 physicians in the U.S. across primary care and specialty practice groups and organizations. The survey is designed to uncover barriers and disconnects in the medical field that can have an impact at the point of care with patients.

When examining respondents' individual practices nearly nine in ten physicians believe that improved access to online medical information and resources has improved the quality of care at their own practice or organization. When asked about the top information sources they use to stay current, findings revealed that general browsers such as Google and Yahoo are among the top resources for physicians, after professional journals and colleagues, for accessing information used in the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care of patients. Meanwhile, 63 percent of physicians report that they occasionally or frequently change their initial decisions related to patient care based on information they access via online resources and support tools.

"The healthcare industry has undergone much growth and change over the past two years, and one of the biggest changes has been easier access to more medical information for both clinicians and patients alike," said Linda Peitzman, Chief Medical Officer, Wolters Kluwer Health. "With the proliferation of information available, what's critical is ensuring that physicians have access to evidence-based information that not only delivers information based on research and proven techniques but also delivers it in the context that helps physicians make informed decisions at the point of care with patients."

The survey also explored physicians' views on Meaningful Use. Findings show that less than half of physicians, 44 percent, reported that they believe the industry has successfully defined Meaningful Use.

Among other findings:

  • Half of physicians report their practice has embraced technology and clinical decision support tools adoption, yet another 44 percent feel that they still have a long way to go in this area.
  • Top barriers to technology adoption include: too expensive (40 percent); too much data and not enough actionable information (32 percent); too hard to learn/takes too much time to learn (27%); too hard to use at the point of care (24 percent).
  • In terms of time spent with patients, 90 percent of physicians wish they had more time, and the majority believe lack of time with patients is the greatest barrier to good doctor-patient communication.
  • The majority of physicians, 53 percent, believe that easier access to more medical knowledge by patients has had a positive impact on the doctor-patient relationship, leading to more informed discussions with patients; however, one in five feel that increased patient access to medical information has been detrimental, leading to misinformation and incorrect self-diagnosis.

For more information on the survey and to download an executive summary, visit http://www.wolterskluwerhealth.com/News/Pages/MediaSource.aspx.

Survey Methodology
The Wolters Kluwer Health Point-of-Care survey was a blind, in-depth phone survey conducted by IPSOS of more than 300 physicians in the U.S. from a national sample of qualified AMA members.  Respondents were nearly evenly split between Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and Specialists. The specialist category included the following specialty areas: Anesthesiology; Cardiology; Emergency Medicine; Gastroenterology; Neurology; Nephrology; Obstetrics/ Gynecology; Oncology; Orthopedics; and Radiology. Interviews were conducted in August 2011.

About Wolters Kluwer Health
Wolters Kluwer Health (Philadelphia, PA) is a leading global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Serving more than 150 countries and territories worldwide, Wolters Kluwer Health's customers include professionals, institutions and students in medicine, nursing, allied health and pharmacy. Major brands include traditional publishers of medical and drug reference tools, journals and textbooks, such as Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; and electronic information providers, such as Ovid®, UpToDate®, Medi-Span®, Facts & Comparisons®, Pharmacy OneSource® and ProVation® Medical.

Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company. Wolters Kluwer had 2010 annual revenues of €3.6 billion ($4.7 billion), employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 40 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.   

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