Physicians aren’t connecting much to one another’s EHRs

Bob Cook | amednews | June 19, 2012

A report says few doctors are exchanging patient information electronically in any meaningful way, despite believing it’s important to have that capability.

Even though physicians have adopted electronic health records at a rapid pace during the last few years, few are “meaningfully” connected in a way that would allow them to share information from their EHRs with hospitals, payers and other physicians, according to a new report. However, doctors and others say getting connected — soon — is necessary for success under new practice and pay models.

According to a survey and report released in June by the ratings service Black Book Rankings, 97% of physicians and 80% of hospitals are “meaningfully unconnected,” which means they are not exchanging information regularly through a sustainable health information exchange. That is defined as an HIE of sufficient geographic scope that allows access to hundreds of physicians and hundreds of thousands of patient records, and allows other functions such as electronic prescribing and lab result access.

Black Book Rankings interviewed about 4,000 health care delivery and insurance organization leaders for a report meant to rate the best health information exchange vendors. The report did not specify how many physicians were interviewed...