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Once used to Healthcare IT - Physicians feel Unsafe in Less Technology Enabled Settings

Posted Dec 05 2008 7:48pm

Healthcare IT News 12/04/08 -  A new study has found that physicians who receive training in a technology-rich environment but go on to work in a less modern facility feel they can't provide safe, efficient care as they could have with information technology. The study, "Performing Without a Net: Transitioning Away From a Health Information Technology-Rich Training Environment," was conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

About 80 percent of the 328 Vanderbilt graduates who participated in the study were working in an environment with less IT. According to the study, they reported "feeling less able to practice safe patient care, to utilize evidence at the point of care, to work efficiently, to share and communicate information and to work effectively within the local system."

Jimmy Carlucci, a fourth-year medical student at Vanderbilt, said he will be paying attention to whether programs are using electronic medical records and electronic order entry as he searches for his residency. "Part of my interest in this comes from my experience that having HIT at one's fingertips makes practice much more efficient, eliminates redundancy and provides a safety net," he said. "But I have to admit, part of my concern stems from fear that transitioning to a training program with less HIT will be burdensome and put me at a disadvantage compared to residents who didn't have some of the luxuries I've been afforded through Vanderbilt's HIT," he added.

This is a very interesting observation and one that I believe is applicable to primary care as much as to the study group referenced above. I am personally aware of new family medicine graduates who would not consider joining a medical practice without an EMR. Going into a paper-based practice would be unacceptable to them.

Does this article reflect your experience? Do physicians who have been trained using evidence based tools and IT decision support applications and EMRs feel less comfortable in a non-IT enabled environment? Have newly graduating physicians lost some of their clinical skills and the ability to practice the 'art' of medicine?

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