Charting the use of electronic health records and other information technologies among child health providers
1 Florida State University College of Medicine, Division of Health Affairs, and Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
2 University of South Florida, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child Health Outcomes, Saint Petersburg, Florida, USA
BMC Pediatrics 2006, 6:21 doi:10.1186/1471-2431-6-21Published: 25 July 2006
Previous studies regarding the use of information technologies (IT) specifically among pediatricians and other physicians who treat children are lacking. As such, the objective of this study is to examine the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems and other IT applications among pediatricians and other child health providers (CHPs) in Florida.
We focus on pediatricians and other CHPs who responded to a state-wide physician survey of IT use. CHPs included general pediatricians, pediatric sub-specialists, and family physicians who self-reported a practice composition of at least 20% children. We compared general pediatricians to other CHPs and all CHPs (including pediatricians) to other physicians with respect to computer and internet availability, and to the use of personal digital assistants and EHRs. Those with an EHR were also compared regarding the availability of key functions available in their system. Statistical analyses included chi-square analysis and logistic regression models which controlled for numerous factors.
A total of 4,203 surveys (28.2% response) including 1,021 CHPs, were returned. General pediatricians (13.7%) were significantly less likely to be using an EHR than both CHP family physicians (26.1%) and pediatric sub-specialists (29.6%; p < .001). In multivariate analysis, only general pediatricians were significantly less likely than other physicians to indicate the use of an EHR system (OR = .43; 95% C.I. = .29 – .64). Overall, CHPs were less likely to have key functions available in their EHR system including electronic prescribing (53.3% vs. 61.9%; p = .028), and electronic order entry (47.7% vs. 57.2%; p = .017) among others. General pediatricians and pediatric sub-specialists frequently lagged behind CHP family physicians with respect to key EHR functions. In contrast, CHPs had growth charts (51.3% vs. 24.0%; p < .001) and weight-based dosing functions (35.5% vs.22.7%; p < .001) more frequently than others.
Physicians caring for children, and especially pediatricians, in Florida, are significantly slower than other doctors to adopt EHRs, and important electronic patient safety functionalities, into their office practices.