Computerization of Primary Care in the United States

Computerization of Primary Care in the United States

James G. Anderson, E. Andrew Balas
DOI: 10.4018/jhisi.2006070101
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The objective of this study was to assess the current level of information technology use by primary care physicians in the U.S. Primary care physicians listed by the American Medical Association were contacted by e-mail and asked to complete a Web-based questionnaire. A total of 2,145 physicians responded. Overall, between 20% and 25% of primary care physicians reported using electronic medical records, e-prescribing, point-of-care decision support tools, and electronic communication with patients. This indicates a slow rate of adoption since 2000. Differences in adoption rates suggest that future surveys need to differentiate primary care and office-based physicians by specialty. An important finding is that one-third of the physicians surveyed expressed no interest in the four IT applications. Overcoming this barrier may require efforts by medical specialty societies to educate their members in the benefits of IT in practice. The majority of physicians perceived benefits of IT, but they cited costs, vendor inability to deliver acceptable products, and concerns about privacy and confidentiality as major barriers to implementation of IT applications. Overcoming the cost barrier may require that payers and the federal government share the costs of implementing these IT applications.

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