Use of computerized clinical support systems in medical settings: United States, 2001-03

Catharine W Burt, Esther Hing
Advance Data 2005 March 2, (353): 1-8

OBJECTIVES: This report presents information on the use of electronic clinical systems to support patient care in physician offices and hospital emergency and outpatient settings. Percentages of hospital emergency and outpatient departments with electronic patient medical records and automated drug dispensing systems are presented by selected hospital characteristics for 2001-02. Percentages of physicians using electronic patient billing records, electronic patient medical records, and computerized prescription order entry systems are presented by selected physician characteristics for 2003.

METHODS: Data are from provider induction interviews from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), the ambulatory care component of the National Health Care Survey (NHCS). The NHCS is a family of provider-based surveys that collect information on the care provided in various medical care settings.

RESULTS: During 2001-03, electronic medical records were used less often in physician offices (17 percent) than in hospital emergency (31 percent) and outpatient departments (29 percent). In physician offices, information technology was more frequently used for billing patients (73 percent) than for maintaining medical records electronically (17 percent) or ordering prescriptions electronically (8 percent). Automated drug dispensing systems were available in hospital emergency departments (40 percent) more frequently than in outpatient departments (18 percent).

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