Is E-Health an Answer to the Coming Primary Care Shortage?

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<p>With an aging population and potentially millions gaining health insurance coverage for the first time, demand for health care services is likely to soar in coming years. But there are indications that health information technology and mobile health applications could ease the physician shortages many experts anticipate. </p><p>A <a href="/publications/journal-article/2013/nov/impact-health-information-technology-and-e-health-future">new <em>Health Affairs</em> study</a> by Jonathan P. Weiner and Susan Yeh of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and David Blumenthal of The Commonwealth Fund finds that health information technology will substantially lessen the burden on primary care physicians, through gains in efficiency, greater reliance on nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and greater emphasis on remotely provided care. </p>
<p>According to the authors’ research, if a range of technologies were to be fully implemented in just 30 percent of community-based physicians’ offices—among them, interoperable electronic health records, clinical decision support, and patient web portals with secure messaging—demand for physicians would be reduced by 4 percent to 9 percent through efficiency gains. </p>
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