Older physicians more likely to use newer medical informatics features, says study

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A report that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) suggests that older physicians were more likely to use newer features of medical informatics systems, known as novel functionality, according to Healthcare IT News.

The study aimed to examine whether younger doctors were more likely to use novel functionality of clinical informatics networks than their more experienced colleagues. According to the report, 50 percent of the 207 doctors participating in the study used novel functionality. Staff physicians were more likely to introduce novel functionality into their diagnostic workflow than trainee medical staff, and doctors who had graduated more than 10 years prior to the study were more likely to use newer features of clinical informatics systems than more recent graduates.

“It is important to understand the characteristics of clinicians who are either more or less likely to use newer [medical informatics] functionality,” Jeffrey Linder, lead author of the report and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, told Healthcare IT News. “This understanding could aid developers and health system leaders in more efficiently targeting design and implementation efforts.”

The results of the study suggest that previous assumptions that older doctors were less likely to use novel functionality of clinical informatics systems were inaccurate. The report indicates a clear link between patient caseload, the complexity of medical conditions suffered by the patient and the years of experience of the attending physician, and the readiness to adopt newer medical informatics tools.

Linder told the news source that the results of the study were surprising, and that successfully identifying early adopters of new medical informatics technology was important in ensuring that new tools are continually developed by clinical informatics vendors. He added that the quality of patient care can be increased as a result of electronic health record implementation.