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Medical News and Perspectives
December 27, 2006

Electronic Health Records, After-Hours Care Lag in US Primary Care Practices

JAMA. 2006;296(24):2913-2914. doi:10.1001/jama.296.24.2913

The United States generally lags behind other developed nations in adopting health care information technology and arranging for after-hours care, especially in the primary care setting, according to a new study. And while most of surveyed primary care physicians agreed that such measures are desirable, only small improvements are seen.

The latest evidence showing this gap between US primary care practices and those of 6 other nations comes from the Commonwealth Fund, which published findings from a survey of physicians in the November issue of Health Affairs (Schoen C et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2006;25:w555-w571). The group is a New York-based private foundation that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy. The researchers undertook their study because countries are introducing policies holding primary care clinicians accountable for managing chronic conditions and meeting clinical standards. These policies include financial incentives and practice redesign with an emphasis on information technology and teamwork to support effective patient-centered coordinated care.

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