Implementing Healthcare IT

laptop-820274_1280Despite the push for Electronic Health Records (EHR) use and the explosion of the healthcare IT market, doctors are slow to implement healthcare IT with their patients, says a study be Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

Their report, “Physician Perspectives on Health Information Technology” shows only 25 percent of the 501 physicians surveyed are on target to meet the “meaningful use” goals required by the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act.

The paper shows a wide technology gap between single healthcare providers and those in groups or hospitals. Nearly half (46 percent) of single providers do not currently use electronic health records and 45 percent have no plans to implement them in the near-future. This, despite EHR being the most basic form of healthcare IT available.

The report brings out how healthcare providers in large groups, hospitals and organizations are less informed about both healthcare IT and the drivers of its expansion. The report theorizes this is due to management responsible for handling these issues. Solo practitioners or small clinics generally do not have this disconnect.

Either way, healthcare providers could be doing more to engage their patients with technology. Patients are more wired than ever before from the advent of smartphone apps, social media and the prevalence of IT in every other aspect of their lives — and have come to expect it. The ability to fire-off a quick question to their primary healthcare provider via text or email is something that many see as a fundamental right.

A 2011 Deloitte study shows that patients still place more trust in information received from physicians than from any other source. Engaging patients through healthcare apps, EHRs and social media needs to become the next priority. Patients, according to Deloitte, often do not see themselves as patients but more as “consumers” of healthcare. Instead of being passive about their healthcare they are more assertive and proactive in their approach to wellness.

Healthcare practitioners, according to Deloitte, are slow to implement healthcare IT because of cost as well as a fear for the decrease in productivity while learning to use the technology. More than 60 percent cite the upfront cost of implementing healthcare IT as their primary reason for failing to do so. Fifty-four percent cite the potential for disruptions while implementing the technology. This interest is likely to continue to grow and needs to be addressed more readily by healthcare providers and their organizations.