Despite medical informatics adoption, paper-based records still prevalent, says study

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Significant progress has been made in the implementation of clinical informatics technology during the past three years. However, a new report from technology firm Anoto suggests many healthcare practices are still heavily reliant on traditional paper-based records, according to Healthcare IT News.

Anoto, a manufacturer of digital pen and paper technology products, conducted a survey of healthcare professionals across the U.S. The results of the study suggest that, despite advances in medical informatics adoption, paper-based records and organizational documents remain prevalent in America’s healthcare system.

More than half of respondents indicated that paper records are still used as a primary method of documenting and tracking information in their facilities. Primary reasons cited for the prevalence of paper-based records were the cost implications of introducing electronic medical records, the necessity of training personnel to use them effectively and the effect these barriers have on patient care.

Perhaps most surprising, approximately 80 percent of participants said they still used paper-based records extensively, despite having access to medical informatics technology. An additional 63 percent of respondents said they spent between 25 and 75 percent of their workday drafting or processing paperwork.

“The survey results are clear: healthcare remains a paper-driven industry and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future,” Pietro Parravicini, Anoto’s senior vice president and area manager for the Americas, told the news source.

Healthcare research firm IDC Health Insights predicts that more than 80 percent of healthcare facilities will be using medical informatics technologies by 2016. According to a recent report by the organization, the abundance of clinical informatics solutions available could contribute to lower implementation costs for healthcare facilities, especially for cloud-based solutions that do not require additional investment in healthcare IT infrastructure.