Doctors Older Than 50 Don’t See Benefits of Health IT, Survey Says

New survey reveals that doctors agree on top health IT benefits, but a generational divide exists.

by / January 12, 2012
Photo: jasleen kaur jasleen_kaur

A new survey released this week announced that physicians across eight countries agree that health-care IT is improving health practices, however, some physicians, particularly those over the age of 50 or who don’t actively use health IT, do not see benefits in health IT practices.

The survey, released by global management consulting firm Accenture, gathered findings last year from more than 3,700 physicians — about 500 from each of the following countries: the U.S., Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany and Spain; as well as nearly 200 from Singapore.

The survey concluded that doctors agree on the top health IT benefits — improving clinical data, coordination of care and reducing medical errors — but that a generational divide exists among the different countries. Physicians over the age of 50 tend to not see all of the benefits of health IT such as electronic medical records (EMR) and health information exchanges (HIE).

Physicians under the age of 50 tend to feel that health IT will create a positive impact including better health outcomes for patients, an increased speed of access to health services and fewer medical errors.

Although the U.S. has made strides to expand health IT, U.S. physicians rated the benefits of EMRs and HIEs lower than physicians in the other countries surveyed. The U.S. ranked lowest in the survey — 45 percent — for the number of doctors who think health-care IT will improve diagnostic decisions. Globally 61 percent of doctors feel that health-care IT will improve those decisions.

Only 45 percent of U.S. doctors reported that technology leads to improved health outcomes for patients. Among all participants in the survey, the average was 59 percent.

Forty-seven percent of U.S. doctors reported that health-care IT has assisted with improving the quality of treatment decisions — 14 percent lower than what doctors reported globally.

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