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~65 Percent of Office-Based Doctors Can ID Patients in Need of Follow-Up

More primary care physicians and those with an EHR system have computerized capability to ID patients due for preventive, follow-up care

a doctor holding a tablet

THURSDAY, Nov. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 65 percent of office-based physicians have the computerized capability to identify patients due for preventive or follow-up care, and having an electronic health record (EHR) system is associated with the ability to send electronic reminders to increase receipt of this care, according to research published in the Nov. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Noting that electronic reminders can improve types of preventive and follow-up care, including immunizations and screening, but computerized capability must exist to make use of these reminders, Damon F. Ogburn, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined computerized capability among U.S. office-based physicians using data from the National Electronic Health Records Survey for 2017.

The researchers found that an estimated 64.7 percent of office-based physicians had the computerized capability to identify patients who were due for preventive or follow-up care. Overall, 72.9 percent of primary care physicians and 71.4 percent of physicians with an EHR system had this capability, compared with 54.8, 58.5, and 23.4 percent of surgeons, non-primary care physicians, and physicians without an EHR system, respectively. Having an EHR system correlated with the ability to send electronic reminders to increase preventive or follow-up care receipt.

"These findings highlight physician and practice characteristics associated with capability for computerized identification of patients due for preventive or follow-up care which might inform efforts to increase patient follow-up," the authors write.

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