Medical students see need for improved information sharing

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Most medical students see a need for greater interoperability in U.S. healthcare, according to the 10th annual Epocrates Future Physicians of America survey.

Of the more than 1,000 medical students surveyed, 96 percent of respondents said improving interoperability is critical to improving patient care. However, 44 percent are concerned with their ability to do so within a hospital or practice and 73 percent are concerned with their ability to do so across practices.

Respondents also said improved collaboration with extended care teams is an important goal. Eighty-seven percent of the students support creating a universal patient record.

When it comes to leveraging digital tools to enhance delivery of care, 41 percent of students turn to a medical app first for clinical answers while 29 percent said they would seek advice from a peer first. Almost all would encourage patients to use monitoring devices (97 percent) or email them for treatment advice via a patient portal (74 percent). The vast majority (98 percent) of medical students said they awould prefer to see their future patients face-to-face for the initial visit as opposed to virtually. Even for follow-ups, 89 percent of students said they prefer the traditional face-to-face exam.

Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of third and fourth-year students said they spend more time documenting encounters than seeing the patients themselves. Eighty percent expect they will  continue to document more than interact with patients when they become physicians.