May 11, 2015

Despite Increased Use of Electronic Medical Records, Norway Doctors Believe it Decreases Time Spent with Patients, Accenture Survey Shows

OSLO; May 11, 2015 – A new survey by Accenture found that most Norwegian doctors are more proficient using electronic medical records (EMR) than they were two years ago, but most believe that technology has decreased time spent with patients.

The Norway findings, part of a six-country survey of more than 2,600 physicians, including roughly 300 in Norway, found the percentage of doctors using IT has increased by double-digits since Accenture conducted a similar survey in 2012. However, despite doctors’ increased use of technology, some physicians believe that EMR has had negative or no impact on improved treatment decisions (20 per cent), medical errors (21 per cent) and improved health outcomes for patients (29 per cent).

“Despite the rapid uptake of electronic medical records, the industry is facing the reality that digital records alone are not sufficient to driving better, more-efficient care in the long-term," said Geir Prestegård, who leads Accenture’s Norway health business. “The findings underscore the importance of adopting both technology and new care processes, as some leading health systems have already done, while ensuring that existing shortcomings in patient care are not further magnified by digitalization. The healthcare market has made remarkable progress in EMR adoption, and we believe that as the technology evolves, so too will the benefits to physicians and patient care.”

Increase Physician Adoption of Healthcare IT
The survey found that the vast majority – 79 per cent – of doctors are more proficient using EMR than they were two years ago. The five IT capabilities that Norway doctors use the most are: Entering patient notes electronically (97 per cent); using electronic referrals to/from health professionals in other organizations (72 per cent); sending e-order requests to laboratories (68 per cent); accessing clinical data about a patient who has been seen by a different health organization (64 per cent); and receiving clinical results directly into a patient’s EMR (58 per cent).

However, despite doctors’ increased use of technology, roughly half (46 per cent) said that the electronic health record system in their organization is hard to use. More than half ([56] per cent) of them believe that healthcare IT has decreased the amount of time they spend with patients. Although nearly all doctors in Norway said that better functionality (92 per cent) and easy-to-use data-entry systems (96 per cent) are important for improving the quality of patient care through healthcare IT.

Increase in Online Services for Patients
Driven by growing demand for patient engagement, many of the doctors surveyed in Norway reported an increase in the services they now provide patients online. Many doctors in Norway now provide patients with access to medical information (39 per cent), enable them to book appointments online (36 per cent) and receive reminders for preventative or follow-up care (28 per cent).

The survey also showed that doctors in Norway believe that allowing patients to update their own medical records increases their engagement in their own health (cited by 69 per cent of respondents), improves patient satisfaction (83 per cent), boosts understanding of their health conditions (62 per cent), increases patient and physician communication (63 per cent), and increases the accuracy of their medical records (48 per cent).

“The industry needs to adapt to a new generation of patients who are taking proactive roles in their healthcare and expect to have real-time data at their fingertips,” said Prestegård. “When patients have a greater role in the record-keeping process, it can increase their understanding of conditions, improve motivation and serve as a clear differentiator for clinical care provided by physicians."

Accenture commissioned a survey of 2,619 doctors in six countries to assess their adoption and attitudes toward electronic health records and healthcare IT. The six countries represented were the United States (601 respondents), Australia (510), Brazil (504), England (502), Norway (302) and Singapore (200). The survey was conducted online by Nielsen between December 2014 and January 2015. The analysis provided comparisons by country, sector, age and use.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 323,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014. Its home page is

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