Cardiologists Disappointed in Reforms, Share Trends in Profession


August 11, 2010

August 11, 2010 – More than 50 percent of cardiologists in a recent survey gave the health reform bill unsatisfactory marks, grading it as a D or an F. Only 1 percent of cardiologists graded it as an A and only 15 percent as a B.

This was according to a survey of 349 cardiologists completed in May. The survey was a poll of Epocrates smartphone and mobile device software users. The survey asked numerous questions about how doctors feel about their career choice, trends in cardiology and where they receive clinical information and updates.

Career Choice Satisfaction

Another highlight of the data is that nearly 80 percent of those surveyed say they would still choose a career in cardiology and more than 71 percent would recommend a career in this specialty to a medical student.

Screening Cardiac Patients for Depression

More than half of those surveyed agreed that cardiologists should begin screening patients for depression, which can cause heart disease and other cardiac problems. Conversely, heart attack patients have also been known to develop depression. Furthermore, 41 percent feel that psychiatrists should begin referring depressed patients to cardiologists for an evaluation.

PDA Software Usage

Epocrates asked what smartphone and mobile device software the cardiologists use and found most helpful for avoiding medical errors. About 30 percent of cardiologists report avoiding at least 2 errors per week with Epocrates software.

• More than 80 percent said they found mobile clinical reference software helpful in their practice.

• About 65 percent find bedside bar code scanning for medications useful.

• Nearly 70 percent use electronic prescribing.

• About 65 percent use software to interface with electronic medical record systems and find it helpful.

• About 55 percent use smartphone software for computer physician order entry.

Drug interactions and drug adverse effects were the main reasons respondents change a prescribing decision, based on referencing mobile device drug software programs.

Finding Reliable Information

When asked to rate the credibility of the clinical information and news cardiologists receive, respondents ranked conferences (86 percent) and mobile or online drug references (77 percent) highest. Information from vendor-sponsored speakers (32 percent) and pharmaceutical reps (21 percent) ranked as the least reliable sources.

Others ranked:

• 72 percent – Disease resource centers

• 67 percent – Online CME courses

• 66 percent – Epocrates DocAlert messages

• 63 percent – Professional social networks

• 57 percent – Internet searches

Web Information From Patients

While cardiologists said information researched and brought in by patients helps them communicate better with these patients, most of this information does not relate to the patient’s condition. Cardiologists said less than 40 percent of the information their patients printed from the Internet and brought in was relevant or helped them do their job. For this reason, only about 45 percent of cardiologists feel information from the Internet is useful.

However, about 60 percent of cardiologists said they are happy the patients brought in the information.

Other Highlights

• Compared to five years ago, 83 percent of respondents feel the level of obesity-related heart issues has increased.

• About 60 percent of cardiologists said they spend more than 15 minutes with each patient.

Cardiologists said patients ask them how healthcare reform will affect them:

• Daily 34 percent

• Weekly: 37 percent

• Monthly: 15 percent

• Not sure: 14 percent

How has the healthcare reform bill impacted plans for retirement?

• I plan to retire later: 25 percent

• I plan to retire earlier: 23 percent

• No change: 52 percent

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