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Patient Health Information Frequently Shared Electronically

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 Oct 2018
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Image: EHRs help doctors share patient information (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
Image: EHRs help doctors share patient information (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
The most common electronically sent and received types of patient health information (PHI) include laboratory results and medication lists, claims a new report.

For the report, researchers at the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; Atlanta, GA, USA) extracted data from the 2015 National Electronic Health Records Survey (NEHRS), a nationally representative survey of nonfederal, office-based physicians that collects information on physician and practice characteristics, including the adoption and use of electronic health record (EHR) systems. Estimates of the types of PHI shared electronically were ranked based on whether participating physicians electronically sent, received, integrated, or searched for PHI.

The results showed that the most commonly observed types of PHI sent electronically were referrals (67.9%), laboratory results (67.2%), and medication lists (65.1%). The most commonly observed types of received PHI were laboratory results (78.8%), imaging reports (60.8%), and medication lists (54.4%). The most commonly observed types of integrated PHI were laboratory results, imaging reports, and hospital discharge summaries. PHI electronic searches were mostly for medication lists (90.2%), medication allergy lists (88.2%), and hospital discharge summaries (80.4%). The report was published on August 15, 2018, in National Health Statistics Reports.

“EHRs have the advantage of providing accurate and complete information about patients, reducing health care costs, and enhancing privacy and security of patient data. EHRs also allow physicians to obtain access to current medication lists, allergies, and laboratory results, which may facilitate quality of care,” concluded lead author Ninee Yang, PhD, and colleagues. “Combined with measures of electronic sharing of PHI, information on the specific type of PHI shared electronically among office-based physicians will assist in tracking progress outlined in the federal plan for achieving interoperability.”

The 2009 U.S. Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provides financial incentives to eligible providers using a certified EHR system, and those who can demonstrate meaningful use of the system. In 2010, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology began certifying EHR systems based on their ability to meet the meaningful use criteria. By 2015, 77.9% of office-based physicians had a certified EHR system.

Related Links:
U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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