Physicians' potential use and preferences related to health information exchange

Int J Med Inform. 2011 Mar;80(3):171-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2010.11.008. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


Purpose: To characterize physician attitudes and preferences towards health information exchange (HIE), which is the ability to transmit health information electronically across institutions, and identify factors that influence physicians' interest in using HIE for their clinical work.

Methods: A survey was conducted of physicians affiliated with institutions that are stakeholders of a regional health information organization in the United States (U.S.). Surveys were administered between May and October, 2009 at educational conferences and on site at physician practices.

Results: Of the 328 physicians asked to participate, 44% (n=144) completed the survey. Sixty-eight percent (n=88) of physicians expressed interest in using HIE for their clinical work. Most physicians expected HIE to improve provider communication (89%), coordination and continuity of care (87%) and efficiency (87%). Potential barriers to adopting or using HIE included start-up costs (57%) and resources to select and implement a system (38%). A majority reported that technical assistance (70%) and financial incentives to use (65%) or purchase (54%) health IT systems would positively influence their adoption and use of HIE. Physicians who believe that financial incentives would be helpful, that HIE would be easy to use, or who prefer viewing patient health information electronically were found to be at least three times more likely to indicate they would adopt and use HIE.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that providers largely consider HIE as potentially valuable and a majority would be willing to use HIE. Recent U.S. federal health IT policies that provide financial incentives as well as technical assistance may address potential barriers to adoption and usage of HIE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / organization & administration*
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States