The European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology has published the study on Benchmarking Deployment of eHealth among General Practitioners. The study, conducted by RAND Europe, Open Evidence and BDI, measures the use of ICT and eHealth applications by primary care physicians in the EU. It also analyses the main drivers of and barriers to eHealth adoption in primary healthcare. Evidence was mainly obtained through a survey among 5,793 GPs across 27 EU countries.
This study represents a follow up of the 2013 study on eHealth benchmarking study. EHealth adoption in primary healthcare in Europe has increased from 2013 to 2018. However, while in some countries the use of eHealth is routine among GPs, in others eHealth is currently not widespread. Findings also show that GPs working in health centres and group practices have higher adoption levels than those working in solo practices.
There are also differences depending on the type of technology. Functionalities related to electronic health records are currently available across all analysed EU countries, and most GPs use them in their practice. The adoption of health information exchange functionalities is lower, but since 2013 there has been a large increase in the adoption of certifying sick leaves and transferring prescriptions to pharmacists. Telehealth and personal health records show progress, but their availability and use are still low in most analysed countries.
The majority of GPs surveyed consider ICTs to be useful for their practice and think that their use increases the effectiveness of their practice and the quality of care. However, they are more sceptical about the positive impact on waiting lists, patient satisfaction and the efficiency of consultations.
In addition, GPs reported that ICT systems are easy to use and that they have the necessary technical assistance, knowledge and resources to use them. However, in practice, they may not be able to decide whether or not to use a specific ICT functionality. This may depend, for example, on decisions taken by the public authorities or the managers of the health organisation. Furthermore, financial difficulties, inter-operability issues and lack of a legal framework on confidentiality and privacy are perceived as the main barriers to eHealth adoption.
The complete report can be accessed in the following link.