Transitions of Care — Sharing Health Information Electronically

Clinicians are health information exchangers. We continuously move voluminous amounts of information around in the care of our patients. Where the healthcare system frequently falls short is during the transitions of care from one setting to another or from one provider to another. This is also where effective appropriate and timely information is most critical. What happens when an elderly unstable patient with multiple co-morbidities is transferred from hospital back to a primary care provider? Or when an acutely ill diabetic is referred to a specialist for urgent care? Without the ability for information to flow ahead of the patient or in some instances in a reasonable time frame after the transfer of care, the risk of error rises significantly as clinical decisions get made without the benefit of the right supporting data.

Today, the American College of Physicians (ACP), the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care released a report titled Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care. The report is based upon analysis from 527 clinician responses from a survey conducted by AmericanEHR Partners, the American Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems; the American College of Surgeons; and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 80% of the clinicians that took the survey believed that the exchange of health information across care settings would improve the quality of patient care and their ability to coordinate care;
  • Exchange of patient health information across care settings is a critical component to the success of the new care models, such as the Patient Centered Medical Home, that are being deployed across the country to help contain rising health care costs and improve patient care;
  • More than 70% of clinicians surveyed identify the lack of interoperability, lack of an information exchange infrastructure, and the cost of setting up and maintaining interfaces and exchanges as a major barrier that prevents clinicians from exchanging information with others;
  • By categorizing clinician’s views on the types of information they want to receive, how they want to receive it, how quickly they want to receive it and what they want to do with the information, it is hoped that the data can help inform future work in this critical area.

Download a copy of the report.

Without the ability to easily and appropriately exchange information during transitions of care, clinicians will be hard pressed to produce the kinds of quality improvements that are anticipated as technology becomes more widely implemented.

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