Study evaluates HIT adoption in 8 countries

The U.S. is a leader in healthcare IT use and adoption, according to a newly published study by management consulting and technology services firm Accenture.

The study found that 74% of primary doctors and specialists contacted by Accenture who practiced in the U.S. shared patient data electronically within their organization to improve clinical protocols. Additionally, 44% of specialists and 39% of primary care physicians reported that they shared patient data outside their organization to improve disease management. And twice as many physicians provided patients with electronic access to their medical records -- approximately 17% -- compared with the overall international average of 8%.

The study analyzed how eight countries (Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain, and the U.S.) and their health systems are applying systematic approaches to healthcare IT. Information was obtained from secondary research, interviews with more than 160 health leaders, and responses from 3,727 physicians who participated in an online survey.

The study determined that primary care physicians and medical specialists alike are adopting healthcare IT at the same rate in the U.S., which Accenture believes will help speed integration of care delivery in the country.

In other findings, primary care physicians in England and Australia scored the highest ratings for "healthcare IT maturity," at 63% and 62%, respectively.

Spain had the highest score for overall connected health maturity, with 58% of Spanish physicians being routine users of healthcare IT functions and 52% participating in health information exchanges.

Approximately 48% of U.S. physicians used computerized physician order-entry systems to order laboratory, radiology, or other diagnostic tests, compared with an international average of 36% of all physicians.

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