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7 challenges physicians face getting access to patient data
Many physicians often do not have access to information available from pharmacy benefit management firms and health insurers, two entities that are supposed to be close partners with providers. Surescripts and ORC International, a business intelligence firm, conducted a survey of 300 primary care physicians to assess what types of data they need to give optimal care and which sources are most trusted. Here is what they found.
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Flying blind
Participating physicians were in practice for at least five years spending at least half of their time in direct care for at least 100 patients over a year and use an electronic health record system. Only half of the doctors were satisfied with the amount and quality of patient intelligence information they get.
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Medication adherence
By far, what physicians most need is information about patients’ adherence to a medication regimen, as 83 percent of respondents see it as a priority but only 17 percent of them can get such information electronically. Without access to medication data from trusted sources, physicians struggle to form a complete picture of patient adherence. Consequently, half of the physicians say they don’t trust adherence data because much of it comes from patients. In addition to adherence information the least trusted medication information includes medication history, cost and drug formulary coverage.
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Cost data
Price transparency aids the prescribing decision for doctors and patients, both of whom are very aware of the high cost of medications today and doctors increasingly looking for an appropriate alternative medication that the patient can afford. But only 11 percent of surveyed physicians can get out-of-pocket medication costs electronically, and 56 percent say they believe having that data is a priority.
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Penny pinching
Physicians want to ensure price does not equate to lower patient adherence to a medication regime and believe the prescription price should impact their prescribing decisions. Consequently, nearly 60 percent want to be able to compare the price of therapeutic alternatives before prescribing.
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Care Coordination Part 1
Physicians have many concerns about how the lack of patient data impedes care coordination. Getting information on other venues where patients have received treatment is a priority for 88 percent of respondents, particularly because the doctors only get such information on 30 percent of patients, on average.
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Care Coordination Part 2
A big challenge for physicians is gathering the most basic details about a patient’s care history as only one-third of surveyed clinicians say they can easily find the other providers that a patient has seen. Yet, even for these doctors, only 30 percent have a way to securely electronically communicate with these providers. “Today’s physicians want to improve care quality and reduce costs for their patients,” according to Surescripts. “To meet these aims, they are looking for easier access to data and faster connections to other providers who share in their patients’ care.”
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Closing thoughts
“Addressing physicians’ information needs and challenges is critical in an increasingly value-driven industry,” says Dana Benini, vice president of healthcare practice at ORC International, which co-conducted the survey. “The Surescripts survey is an important inside look at physicians’ real-world information access and interoperability challenges and the opportunities to solve them.”