Young doctors call for better IT support and improved access to patient information

A new survey conducted by the Swedish Junior Doctors’ Association (SYLF) and Tieto shows that the majority of younger doctors are discontent with the level of IT support in the healthcare sector. Despite showing a very positive attitude toward technology and the use of IT, computers, smartphones and tablets, 83 percent of the respondents said they were either fairly, or very dissatisfied with the IT environment currently provided to them in their workplace. A better overview and improved access to patient information was what they called for the most.  

At the start of 2016, SYLF and Tieto conducted a survey among junior doctors about the way they perceive different aspects of the IT support that they encounter in the healthcare sector today. A total of 439 junior doctors took part in the survey which was conducted online.

The results showed that junior doctors are very positive toward technology and want to work with digital tools, but that they are dissatisfied with the IT support they have encountered thus far in the healthcare sector. Only 17 percent of the respondents were very, or only fairly happy with the IT systems currently provided to them. More than one in two, or 55 percent, of the respondents, also expressed doubts regarding the level of security and integrity in the healthcare information systems.

- The survey shows that we have to take vigorous action when it comes to the IT support in the healthcare sector of today. First and foremost it is a matter of healthcare efficiency and security, but also a vital work environment issue – not just for doctors, but for all staff who are dependent on well-functioning IT support and digital tools in their daily work. There is great commitment to want to resolve this issue and junior doctors want to be more involved in the development of future solutions, says Emma Spak, chairperson at SYLF.

Junior doctors are digitally mature

An overview and access to patient information via new digital solutions are of great value to doctors. 93 percent of the junior doctors said they completely, or largely agree with the statement that they want access to a patient overview which has a summary of a patient’s medical history, treatments, diagnoses and test results. 90 percent of them also said they want to have access to this information when they are on call, whether they are on call at the hospital or from their homes.

The junior doctors were positive towards new technology. 74 percent of them were very positive to the idea of working with colleagues, experts and other healthcare staff via channels like video meetings, chats and email. 83 percent of them were also very positive to using digital tools, such as smartphones and tablets, in their work.

- The message is clear: The solutions of today do not meet the needs or expectations of the younger generation practicing the medical profession. The new generation of systems needs to be more integrated, easy to use – whenever and wherever – and needs to work seamlessly between different caretakers. To achieve this, there needs to be increased collaboration between municipalities, counties and national initiatives, as well as closer cooperation between the healthcare sector and private operators, with, for example, the IT sector employing doctors and staff with organizational competence, says Johan Höglund, Head of Healthcare and Welfare at Tieto.

Excerpts from the survey:

- An overview and access to patient information are of great value. Ninety-three percent of the respondents said they want a comprehensive overview of a patient’s medical history, treatments, diagnoses and test results. Ninety percent also want to have access to this information about the patient when they are on call, whether they are at the hospital or in their homes.

- The doctors are positive toward new technology and are willing to use their own equipment. Seventy-four percent of them said they were positive towards working with colleagues, experts and other healthcare staff via channels like video meetings, chats and email. Eighty-three percent were also very positive toward using digital tools in their professional role and 47 percent said they believe new technology will help reduce the workload.

- The doctors said they did not feel completely confident about the level of security and integrity provided by current systems and were overall dissatisfied with today’s IT support. Forty-two percent said they feel comfortable with the level of information security and integrity, while 83 percent say they were either very, or fairly dissatisfied with the IT support of today’s healthcare sector.

The survey was characterized by a high level of involvement as more than half (275) of the respondents chose to answer the open-ended question: “What would you like to say to those developing IT systems for the healthcare sector?” The responses reflected the desire to want to help and be involved in such development, to improve user-friendliness as well as contributing to “fewer clicks”.

Facts about the survey:

The survey was conducted as an anonymous online survey aimed at junior doctors. Some 476 respondents began to fill in the responses, and a total of 439 complete answers were recorded during the period, which stretched from December to April, 2016. The majority of the respondents were between the age bracket of 26-30 and half of them were resident doctors.

For more information, please contact:

Emma Spak, chairperson SYLF
phone: +46 70 309 22 95, email: emma.spak[at]sylf.se

Johan Höglund, Head of Healthcare and Welfare, Tieto
phone: +46 70 756 51 57, mail: johan.hoglund[at]tieto.com
 

Tieto aims to capture the significant opportunities of the data-driven world and turn them into lifelong value for people, business and society. We aim to be customers’ first choice for business renewal by combining our software and services capabilities with a strong drive for co-innovation and ecosystems. www.tieto.com

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Tieto aims to capture the significant opportunities of the data-driven world and turn them into lifelong value for people, business and society. We aim to be customers’ first choice for business renewal by combining our software and services capabilities with a strong drive for co-innovation and ecosystems. Headquartered in Finland, Tieto has over 13 000 experts in close to 20 countries. Tieto’s turnover is approximately EUR 1.5 billion and shares listed on NASDAQ in Helsinki and Stockholm. www.tieto.com