Embrace of efficient communications technology in the medical world would seem to be tantamount to positive change in healthcare, whether it's through the incorporation of technology into a medical answering service or the increased adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). Despite advancements made in the development of these systems, a recent report conducted by the Regenstrief Institute revealed that infection specialists are having issues utilizing electronic medical data effectively.
The study was officially published on February 18th with the full title of "Infection Preventionists' Awareness of and Engagement in Health Information Exchange to Improve Public Health Surveillance." Its general findings seem to indicate that the specialists surveyed were not overly prepared to successfully implement electronic records in their care practices. Dr. Brian Dixon, of the Regenstrief institute and Indiana University, headed the study.
"We found that while hospital-based infection preventionists – the people on the front line – may have access to health information technology," Dr. Dixon said in an article posted on the Indiana University School of Medicine's news website. "They lack specially designed computer tools needed to sift through the massive amounts of data in electronic medical records."
According to the study, a mere 10 percent of those polled said that the groups they worked for had officially embraced use of a health information exchange (HIE). Out of the number of infections specialists surveyed, the number of those actively engaged with their EHR plan was under 20 percent.
Dr. Dixon said that this reflects a dissatisfaction with the means infection responders have of accessing EHRs.
"They say they want electronic alerts and reminders when the system detects something of potential importance. There needs to be concerted R&D to meet this gap in decision support," he said.
Proper connectivity and information processing continues to be a vital part of updating the state of modern American healthcare. Clearly, steps of transition need to be taken to best bridge the gap between traditional support structures and internet services.