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3/4/2011
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Majority Of Patients Want Online Access To Doctors

Nearly three-quarters of people want to be able to get lab results, request appointments, pay medical bills, and communicate with their doctor's office through secure portals, finds Intuit Health study.

Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety
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Slideshow: Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety

As a growing number of Americans use the Internet to perform a variety of health-related tasks, a new study shows that nearly three-quarters of those polled say they want the convenience of having an online connection to their doctor's office.

These findings come from Intuit Health's second-annual Health Care Check-Up Survey, which found that 73% of Americans surveyed would use a secure online communication solution to make it easier to get lab results, request appointments, pay medical bills, and communicate with their doctor's office.

Doctors should take note of these trends, particularly since a connected office may determine the number of patients they attend to. The survey also found that almost half of respondents would consider switching doctors to a practice that offered the ability to communicate and complete important healthcare tasks online.

The survey, which was conducted in January by Decipher Research for Intuit Health, polled 1,000 American adults online. The survey confirmed what other studies have shown, that Americans are increasingly turning to the Internet to help them manage various aspects of their healthcare.

Among the findings are:

-- Nearly 20% of Americans feel they cannot easily reach their doctor's office to ask questions, make appointments or obtain lab results.

-- A full 81% would schedule their own appointment via a secure Web service and fill out medical/registration forms online prior to their appointment.

-- A secure online method to access medical histories and share information with their doctor would be used by 78% of respondents.

-- Among Gen Y respondents (born 1965 to 1983), 59% said they would switch doctors for one with better online access, compared to only 29% of Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964).

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