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Patients Seek More Online Access To Medical Records

41% of those who don't have online access to records would consider switching physicians to obtain it, Accenture survey finds.

7 E-Tools To Keep Patients Engaged
7 E-Tools To Keep Patients Engaged
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Patients are pushing physicians for more online access to their medical records and to the doctors' practices, and they're starting to get their way, according to a new survey of patients and providers by the research and consulting firm Accenture.

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.

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Alex Kane Rudansky
Alex Kane Rudansky,
User Rank: Author
9/24/2013 | 3:44:38 PM
re: Patients Seek More Online Access To Medical Records
Also important to consider the disparities in those using patient portals/ accessing EMRs and which patients are actually embracing this access -- and if they have access at all.

A 2010 study conducted in New York City published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported that 16% of all patients in the study received an access code to a patient portal, and of these, 60% activated their code. Those who activated their access tended to be whiter, English-speakers, and with private insurance.

How can providers expand access?
Alex Kane Rudansky
Alex Kane Rudansky,
User Rank: Author
9/24/2013 | 3:33:44 PM
re: Patients Seek More Online Access To Medical Records
This plays into the overarching theme of patient engagement-- when you give patients access to their records and make things like refilling prescriptions as easy as a mouse click, you get more patient interest and better patient outcomes. Still, I don't believe that this is a replacement for face-to-face or phone communication. There is a certain value in that type of relationship that can't be replicated online.
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