Canadian physicians increasingly turning to EHRs
Across the country, physicians and other healthcare providers are increasingly adopting electronic health records to provide more streamlined and efficient patient care. According to a new Commonwealth Fund report from the Health Council of Canada, 57 percent of primary care doctors said they use EHRs, a figure which has doubled since 2006.
While adoption rates vary around the nation – Canadian Healthcare Technology reported that 26 percent of physicians in New Brunswick use EHRs while 74 percent of Albertans polled said they did – the uptick shows that doctors are increasingly realizing the benefits of incorporating new technologies into their daily routines. For example, the number of healthcare professionals filing prescriptions electronically rose from 20 percent in 2006 to now being at 43 percent.
“We hope that our comparative findings help shed light on potential for improvement across the country in these areas,” Dr. Michael Moffatt, Councilor of Health Council of Canada, said. “Primary health care is an important part of our health system, and the most logical place to start.”
Why EHRs benefit healthcare providers
According to the Health Council of Canada, one of the main reasons patients can expect to receive better care following EHR adoption is that EHRs allow healthcare professionals to reconfigure their files to make themselves more efficient and to offer more streamlined and customized care.
Other numbers from the report show:
- More than four out of every 10 Canadian doctors (41 percent) said they can use EHRs to group their patients based on diagnoses, allowing physicians to more holistically care for those with the same affliction. In contrast, only 26 percent of healthcare workers had this ability in 2006.
- Close to 30 percent of all doctors can create patient listings based on similar lab results, with 43 percent of physicians in British Columbia and 37 of those in Alberta and Ontario listing this ability.
- The number of primary care doctors who can use EHRs to schedule reminders for patients in need of a vaccine or treatment went from 13 percent in 2006 to now being at 24 percent. In addition, 13 percent of those polled said they use a computerized system to remind patient about follow-up care or a preventative appointment.
- The percentage of Canadian physicians who can easily generate a list of a patient’s medication rose from 25 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2012.
- A clinical summary, a report given to a patient that details all of the information discussed during a visit, can be given out by 39 percent of healthcare professionals polled.
“The use of information technology facilitates better communication with patients, improve safety and quality, and better coordinate care,” said John G. Abbott, CEO of Health Council of Canada. “While there has been significant progress across the country, we’re not where we need to be.”
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