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Most Medicare Outpatient Visits to Physicians with Limited Clinical IT
FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Through a linkage of Medicare claims data to HSCs nationally representative physician survey, HSC researchers found that more than half of Medicare outpatient visits (57%) were to physicians in practices that used IT for no more than one of the following five clinical functions: obtaining treatment guidelines, exchanging clinical data with other physicians, accessing patient notes, generating preventive treatment reminders for the physicians use, and writing prescriptions.
The studys authorsJoy Grossman, Ph.D., HSC senior researcher; and Marie Reed, M.H.S., HSC data manager, found that access rates across individual clinical IT functions varied considerably. While half of Medicare outpatient visits were to physicians in practices using IT to obtain treatment guidelines, the proportion of visits to physicians in practices with IT support for other patient care functions was much lower, falling to 9 percent for electronic prescribing.
The study also found that more vulnerable beneficiaries-including those who were sicker, living in low-income or rural areas, or who were blackdid not have significant differences in access to physicians with clinical IT.
Based on a linked sample that included claims for more than 506,000 Medicare
outpatient visits to 8,641 physicians, the studys findings were weighted to
be nationally representative of all Medicare fee-for-service physician outpatient
visits in 2001. Additional findings are detailed in a new HSC Data BulletinMost
Medicare Outpatient Visits are to Physicians with Limited Clinical Information
The Center for Studying Health System Change is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to providing objective and timely research on the nations changing health system to help inform policy makers and contribute to better health care policy. HSC, based in Washington, D.C., is funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.