Doctors and public health agencies exchange more information electronically

Vaccination data is the most traded as numbers increased in 2019.

A growing number of primary care physicians (PCPs) shared medical information electronically with public health agencies (PHAs) in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have also begun recording more data on the social and behavioral determinants of patient health, according to the Survey of Electronic Communications Between Physicians and PLHIV, released by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed significant gaps in the public health infrastructure needed to support the electronic exchange of public health data between health care providers and PLHIV,” says the report released by the Bureau. the national health information technology coordinator.

The data is important for at least two reasons: public health surveillance and identifying populations in need of greater assistance due to social and behavioral determinants of health, according to the report.

The researchers noted that the study did not cover overall reporting rates to PLHIV, and other recent studies have shown that PCPs report to PLHIV through paper-based data sharing, phone calls, emails, and faxes. .

Commercial data

Fewer than one in five PCPs sent or received health information with PLHIV electronically. For all physicians, 12% exchanged information electronically with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or state or local health authorities.

Rates were higher or equal for pediatrics (26%), internal medicine (24%), primary care (18%) and general/family practice (12%). In those areas, at least 46% said they did not exchange information electronically and at least 22% of doctors said they were unsure if they did, according to the report.

To get vaccinated

Nationally, 44% of GPs said they seek vaccination or immunization history from sources outside their own healthcare organizations. The percentages increased for internists (53%) and pediatricians (51%), compared to 41% for general/family doctors.

Immunization data sharing was most common for all primary care physicians (90%), pediatricians (100%), internal medicine physicians (82%), and general or family physicians (89%). ). Case notification data, public health registry data and syndromic surveillance data were all exchanged at lower rates by the different doctors, the report said.

Cabinet size

PCPs in large practices, those in practices owned by hospitals or health centers, and those able to send and receive patient data electronically were significantly more likely to share information with PLHIV. Those who exchanged data with PLHIV and those who sought information about vaccination or immunization from outside sources were much more likely to electronically record social and behavioral determinants of health, the report found.

Most physicians (69%) electronically recorded data on social and health determinants, such as employment, education, and social and community context that influence health and quality of life. For behavioral determinants of health, such as alcohol and tobacco use and physical activity, 84% of physicians recorded data electronically.

Primary care physicians were significantly more likely to electronically record social and behavioral determinants of health than specialists. According to the report, physicians using EHR developers in the top five for market share had the highest rates of electronic patient data sharing and recording, compared to those using EHR developers without a share. market among the top 10.