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Many U.S. doctors still not using electronic information sharing

One thing that has come to play a bigger and bigger role in the health care industry in recent years are electronic health record (EHR) systems. The increased prevalence of such systems has had many different impacts, including effects on doctors. For one, it has shifted what the day-to-day practice of medicine involves. Also, there are some new types of legal issues that could come up for a doctor in relation to their use of such systems. This includes issues coming from allegations that a doctor made impactful mistakes in their EHR use. When EHR-related legal matters arise for physicians, skilled health law attorneys can give them guidance throughout the process of responding to the issues.

While there has been a lot of growth in the realm of EHR use in health care in recent years, there still could end up being more considerable growth in this area. One area in which there is still quite a bit of room for growth is in using these systems for information sharing between doctors. This is because, while most (over three-fourths) of office-based doctors have an EHR system in place, it appears that well under half of doctors do information-sharing activities with such systems, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The data indicates that, in 2015, only around a third of U.S. doctors performed EHR information-sharing actions regarding information pertaining to patient health. There were four main types of sharing activities the data looked at: sending, receiving, searching and integrating. None of these activities had a doctor performance rate exceeding 40 percent nationally.

Now, there is substantial variation among the states in how common EHR information sharing is among doctors. The data indicates that Wisconsin may be one of the states where such sharing is more common. In 2015, the state had the highest doctor performance rate for receiving electronic information on patients from other providers (65.5 percent) and one of the highest doctor performance rates for searching for such information (54.1 percent). Why do you think this is the case?

One wonders what movements there will be on the front of EHR information sharing here in the U.S. and Wisconsin in the future and what impacts these movements will have on doctors.

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