Few Patient-Centered Medical Homes Using IT for Care Coordination

May 14, 2015 in News

Physicians’ use of health IT to facilitate care coordination in patient-centered medical homes is inconsistent, according to a study published Wednesday in the Annals of Family Medicine, FierceEMR reports.

Details of Study

For the study, researchers from the National Committee for Quality Assurance and other organizations looked into the feasibility and acceptability of 10 care coordination goals that were originally proposed for Stage 3 of the meaningful use program in 2012.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 5/12).

The findings were based on the responses from 350 PCMH practices, all of which participated in the meaningful use program (Morton et al., Annals of Family Medicine, 5/13).

Study Findings

According to the study, physicians who practice in PCMHs still rely on paper-based methods of care coordination. In addition, the physicians’ use of EHRs relating to care coordination is not in line with the doctors’ priorities, the study found.

About 21.1% of respondents performed all 10 coordinated care activities examined in the survey. Of those:

  • 60% used health IT to carry out the activities; and
  • Fewer than 50% regularly used computerized systems to identify patients in hospitals or emergency departments.

Further, the study found that care coordination activities that were preformed most frequently were not among those that require the most health IT support.

When asked about the largest barriers to using electronic care coordination methods, respondents cited:

  • Issues using IT or EHRs; and
  • Money and time.

Meanwhile, organizations that employed staff members specifically assigned to coordinate care were more likely to do so, and more likely to complete care coordination tasks electronically, according to the study.

Takeaways

Overall, the researchers noted that clinicians often do not place the most value on coordinated care activities that rely on computerized systems.

They wrote, “To improve uptake of health IT for care coordination to meet clinicians’ needs, practices will need technical assistance to help redesign workflows and enhance technologic capabilities” (FierceEMR, 5/12).

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