Electronic access to patient info a struggle, physician survey finds
- While EHRs capture increasing volumes of patient data, physicians can be hard-pressed to access patient information when they need it, a new Surescripts study suggests.
- Of 300 physicians surveyed, half say they were very or extremely satisfied with their access to patient data.
- The worst data gap was in medication adherence. While 83% of doctors report such information is a high priority, only 17% say it is easy to retrieve that information electronically. More than half (56%) of physicians say they don’t trust the information they do access about medication adherence.
Frustration over medications isn't limited to adherence. Nearly 30% of physicians also don’t trust the information they get electronically on medication history, drug costs, formulary coverage and the patient’s medical history.
For example, 56% of respondents place a high priority on obtaining information about out-of-pocket costs of prescriptions, but just 11% find it easy to retrieve electronically. In addition, about three-fourths of physicians feel the patient’s health benefits should be considered before prescribing a drug, and 59% think it’s important to have pricing information on comparable drugs.
Making sure providers have up-to-date and comparative information about drug prices and insurance coverage could help to rein in U.S. drug costs, which totaled $325 billion in 2015. In October, CVS Health and Epic partnered to lower patients’ prescription costs by increasing transparency around less expensive choices using enhanced data analytics.
Surescripts followed shortly after with an initiative that provides real-time patient-specific benefit and pricing information to prescribers at the point of care. Once the data are integrated with the EHR, the doctor and patient can also see costs and information for alternative options.
The study also points to underlying interoperability problems in sharing information across disparate systems. For example, care coordination suffers when doctors can’t access information about care their patients received from other providers. Nearly nine in 10 call this a high priority, but less than a third say such information is easy to get.
When it comes to identifying which providers a patient has previously seen, just a third of doctors consider it easy, and only 30% have a secure way to communicate electronically with other providers.