Survey: Patients Increasingly Interested in Online EHR Access

December 11, 2014 in News

Patients this year are significantly more interested in accessing their electronic health records online than they were in 2011, according to a survey released by the National Partnership for Women Families, EHR Intelligence reports (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 12/10).

Details of Survey

The survey is a follow-up to a 2011 national poll on consumers’ perceptions of EHRs and other health IT. The survey examines what aspects and functions of health IT patients value.

It repeated questions from the national survey to identify trends in patients’ attitudes. Meanwhile, new questions were added to gauge consumers’ attitudes toward new health IT policies and programs.

The poll was conducted between April 22 and May 7 and included responses from 2,045 individuals (National Partnership for Women Families release, 12/10). The survey was funded by the California HealthCare Foundation. CHCF publishes iHealthBeat.

Findings

Overall, the survey found that 80% of U.S. adults said they have a physician who uses EHRs, up from 64% in 2011. Meanwhile, online access to EHRs has doubled in the last three years (EHR Intelligence, 12/10).

The survey found that 86% of respondents with online access to their EHRs used it at least once annually, while 55% used it three or more times annually.

Further, the more often patients accessed their EHRs, the more likely they were to report a greater ability to take control of their health care, according to the survey  (Allen, Politico Pro, 12/10).

While 85% to 96% of patients said they found EHRs to be useful in some aspect of care delivery, the majority said that they want more functionality and feature options regarding their online access to EHRs. Specifically:

  • 75% of respondents said they want the ability to view test results online;
  • 64% said they want the ability to schedule appointments; and
  • 59% said they want the ability to submit requests for medication refills.

Patients said they also would like to be able to email their providers and review their treatment plans and doctors’ notes online.

Meanwhile, the survey found that patients’ trust in the privacy and security of EHRs is up from 2011. In addition, the new survey found that 77% of patients whose physicians provided online access to EHRs trust their doctors and medical staff, compared with 67% of patients whose physicians do not offer such access (Walsh, Clinical Innovation Technology, 12/10).

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