More doctors here find IT helps with patient care

More doctors here are turning to technology as it improves the treatment decisions they make for their patients, a study by Accenture has found. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
More doctors here are turning to technology as it improves the treatment decisions they make for their patients, a study by Accenture has found. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More doctors here are turning to technology as it improves the treatment decisions they make, and results in improved health for patients.

This finding comes from a study of 2,600 doctors in six countries, including 200 here, commissioned by Accenture, a global consulting and IT company.

Half the Singapore doctors in the survey were specialists and the other half were primary care doctors. Slightly more than half worked in the public sector.

While 86 per cent said they are more proficient in the use of patients' electronic medical records (EMR) than they were in the last survey done two years ago, 42 per cent still found it difficult to use.

Almost half said they access clinical data on patients who had been seen by doctors in a different organisation, enter patient notes electronically and even prescribe drugs this way.

These were likely doctors working in the public sector who all have access to the National Electronic Health Records. Most public hospitals also use electronic prescriptions.

The study, carried out by market survey company Nielsen from December 2014 to January this year, found that 58 per cent of doctors used IT to provide patients with reminders or follow-up care, and to book appointments online.

One in six doctors also allow patients to consult them through video-conferencing, and 43 per cent communicate with patients through e-mail.

The report noted: "Doctors in Singapore believe that allowing patients to update their own medical records increases their engagement in their own health, improves patient satisfaction, boosts understanding of their health conditions, increases patient and physician communication, and increases the accuracy of their medical records."

Said Ms Corissa Leung, managing director for Accenture's health business in Singapore: "When patients have a greater role in the healthcare process, it can increase their understanding of conditions, improve motivation and serve as a clear differentiator for clinical care provided by physicians."