More than a third of U.S. consumers say that their current medical providers allow them online access. Capabilities offered include prescription refill requests (48%), access to medical records (43%), appointment requests (43%), e-mail with providers (36%), and electronic reminders (36%). Depending on the item, between 28% and 40% of doctors say these electronic services are available to patients, Accenture reported.
[ Veterans say online access to doctors improved their health. Read more: Patients Like Online Health Records Access, Study Says. ]
Consumers want far more access to these services than they currently have, Accenture found. Eighty-two percent of consumers, for example, say that access to medical records is important to them. About three-quarters of them attach importance to online appointment booking (77%), prescription refill requests (76%), and receiving reminders via e-mail and text (74%). Sixty-nine percent say communicating with providers via e-mail is important.
These preferences vary by age group, with more 18- to 24-year-olds saying they want online appointment booking, reminders and e-mail communications than those 55 or older. Conversely, older consumers are more likely than younger ones to say that access to medical records is important.
Overall, however, consumers insist that their providers share medical records with them. Nearly a third of them say they cannot access their records online and another quarter of them are not sure if they can. Of the people in these two groups, 41% say they would consider switching to a provider who offers online access to their records.