Many U.S. Residents Want Access to EHRs Through Patient Portals

December 18, 2014 in News

Many U.S. residents want to access their electronic health records online but are unaware of how to do so, according a survey released Tuesday by Xerox, Health Data Management reports.

The annual survey, commissioned by Xerox and conducted by Harris Poll, included 2,017 adults and took place in September (Goth, Health Data Management, 12/17).

Survey Findings

The survey found that 64% of respondents did not use online patient portals, but 57% said they would be more proactive in their health care if they had online access to their EHRs (Gold, “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 12/16).

Of respondents who did not use patient portals:

  • 35% said they were unaware that a portal was available; and
  • 31% said their physician had never discussed the option.

Among respondents who did use patient portals, 59% said they have been more interested in their health care since receiving access to their health data (Health Data Management, 12/17).

The survey found that physicians could increase the use of portals by accounting for specific needs and interests of different generations of patients.

It also found that 64% of millennials who used online portals said they were more involved in their personal health care.

In addition, 56% of baby boomers who do not use patient portals said they would be more involved in their care if they had such access to their health data.

Meanwhile, the survey noted that millennials were more likely to access patient portals via smartphones and tablets.

The survey also found that 85% of respondents expressed concerns about the security of EHRs — up from 83% last year (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 12/16).

Implications

Xerox executives said eligible professionals could “make strides” toward meeting requirements of Stage 2 of the meaningful use program by improving access to patient portals.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments. Eligible professionals must be able to provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within four business days of the information being available to the eligible professional, and eligible professionals must get more than 5% of their patients to use it.

Tamara St. Claire, chief innovation officer of commercial health care at Xerox, said, “With providers facing regulatory changes, mounting costs and patients who increasingly seek access to more information, our survey points to an opportunity to address issues by simply opening dialogue with patients about patient portals.”

She added, “Educating patients will empower them to participate more fully in their own care while helping providers demonstrate that electronic health records are being used in a meaningful way” (Health Data Management, 12/17).

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