Access to electronic health records by care setting and provider type: perceptions of cancer care providers in Ontario, Canada


BACKGROUND The use of electronic health records (EHRs) to support the organization and delivery of healthcare is evolving rapidly. However, little is known regarding potential variation in access to EHRs by provider type or care setting. This paper reports on observed variation in the perceptions of access to EHRs by a wide range of cancer care providers covering diverse cancer care settings in Ontario, Canada. METHODS Perspectives were sought regarding EHR access and health record completeness for cancer patients as part of an internet survey of 5663 cancer care providers and administrators in Ontario. Data were analyzed using a multilevel logistic regression model. Provider type, location of work, and access to computer or internet were included as covariates in the model. RESULTS A total of 1997 of 5663 (35%) valid responses were collected. Focusing on data from cancer care providers (N = 1247), significant variation in EHR access and health record completeness was observed between provider types, location of work, and level of computer access. Providers who worked in community hospitals were half as likely as those who worked in teaching hospitals to have access to their patients' EHRs (OR 0.45 95% CI: 0.24-0.85, p < 0.05) and were six times less likely to have access to other organizations' EHRs (OR 0.15 95% CI: 0.02-1.00, p < 0.05). Compared to surgeons, nurses (OR 3.47 95% CI: 1.80-6.68, p < 0.05), radiation therapists/physicists (OR 7.86 95% CI: 2.54-25.34, p < 0.05), and other clinicians (OR 4.92 95% CI: 2.15-11.27, p < 0.05) were more likely to report good access to their organization's EHRs. CONCLUSION Variability in access across different provider groups, organization types, and geographic locations illustrates the fragmented nature of EHR adoption in the cancer system. Along with focusing on technological aspects of EHR adoption within organizations, it is essential that there is cross-organizational and cross-provider access to EHRs to ensure patient continuity of care, system efficiency, and high quality care.

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6947-9-38

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@inproceedings{Orchard2009AccessTE, title={Access to electronic health records by care setting and provider type: perceptions of cancer care providers in Ontario, Canada}, author={Margo C. Orchard and Mark J. Dobrow and Lawrence Paszat and Hedy Jiang and Patrick R Brown}, booktitle={BMC Med. Inf. & Decision Making}, year={2009} }