Physician Access to Health Information Technology Has Increased
MedSun: Newsletter #5, June 2006
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Kaisernetwork.org Web site reports on findings recently announced by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) on physician access to health information technology (IT) from two telephone surveys. HSC, the Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan health policy organization, reported on physicians’ ability to employ IT to carry out five clinical functions: obtaining clinical guidelines, accessing patient information, writing prescriptions, exchanging clinical data and images with other physicians, and generating task reminders. HSC reviewed responses from members of the American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association in telephone surveys conducted with 12,000 physicians in 2000–2001 and more than 6,600 physicians in 2004–2005. HSC reported that doctors’ IT access to four of the five functions nearly doubled over the past 4 years. About 65 percent of respondents in the 2004–2005 survey said they had access to IT that can provide clinical guidelines, compared with 52.9 percent in the 2000–2001 survey, and approximately 21 percent of respondents in the 2004–2005 survey said they had IT capability to write prescriptions, compared with 11.4 percent in the earlier survey. Nearly 17 percent of doctors contacted in the 2004–2005 survey said they did not have access to IT to assist in any of the aforementioned clinical functions, and 20 percent reported having access to IT that can perform one of the functions.
More information on the study is available in the Kaiser Network Daily Health Policy Report at