Physician Perspectives About Health Information Technology

Survey of physicians assesses their current use, overall views, and actions around HIT


With incentives now available to hospitals and physicians for adopting electronic health records (EHRs), and the 2013 deadline for ICD-10 conversion looming, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions sought to assess physicians’ current use and overall views of health information technology (HIT), as well as specific actions surrounding EHRs, meaningful use, and ICD-10. Results from the 2011 survey provide important insights and implications for health care industry stakeholders.

Among key findings:

  • Nearly two-thirds of physicians say they use some sort of electronic record to manage clinical information, reflecting the most general use of EHRs as opposed to stricter definitions. Use is highest among large practices and in the Midwest.
  • By contrast, use is somewhat lower among older and female physicians. Solo practitioners are particularly unlikely to be using EHRs or to have plans to implement them. Also, older physicians are less likely to be pushing for adoption of HIT.
  • There is widespread consensus that EHR use by physicians is valuable in improving quality (84 percent) and important to managing patient care (79 percent). However, more than six of 10 physicians state that EHR has not improved diagnosis accuracy or treatment planning.
  • Although many barriers exist to EHR adoption, including lack of incentives (13 percent), vendor selection challenges (15 percent), and privacy concerns (22 percent), the biggest are the cost and burden of implementation.
  • Despite widespread adoption by other industries, only half (54 percent) of all physicians use Internet tools to inform or engage patients in health care. Only two in 10 physicians provide online scheduling or downloading of test results. Use of social media to communicate with patients is extremely low among all physicians (6 percent).
  • Regulatory issues surrounding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) meaningful use incentives, as well as ICD-10 compliance, present challenges to physicians. Only about one in four considers themselves “on target” to meet meaningful use. Of concern, 23 percent say they are unfamiliar with the requirements. ICD-10 poses similar challenges and raises analogous concerns.