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.
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Steve Malik, president and general manager of Intuit Health, said in a statement that patient anxiety is on the rise as they increasingly want to control their health issues, as well as communicate better with their doctor.

"Doctors who offer secure online solutions can meet this patient demand while increasing office efficiency and enhancing the doctor-patient relationship," Malik said. "In addition, online solutions, like a patient portal, have proven to improve staff and patient satisfaction levels, while positively impacting the physician's bottom line by reducing patient no-shows and increasing the speed at which payments are received."

The survey also found that rising costs continue to be a major concern for people, with 70% saying they are somewhat or very concerned about managing their healthcare bills, the same percentage as last year. Healthcare costs increased in 2010 for 62% of respondents, and two-thirds believe their healthcare costs will increase in the future.

Baby Boomers were most concerned with rising costs: 66% said their costs have increased and 72% are most concerned with rising costs in the future. This compares to the 59% of Gen X and Gen Y (born 1984-2002) respondents who said their healthcare costs have increased, and 62% who were concerned with rising costs in the future.

Additionally, the survey provided insights into patients' perspectives on medical bills and payment methods. The survey showed that:

-- Forty-one percent of consumers do not have confidence that the billed amount is correct.

-- One in five is unsure whether to pay their doctor or the insurance company; Gen Y respondents were most unsure whom to pay: 28% versus 8% of Baby Boomers.

-- At least one medical bill has gone to a collection agency for 57%. Women are twice as likely as men to let a medical bill go past due.

-- Forty-five percent of patients wait more than a month to pay their doctor bill, and when they pay, half still send a paper check in the mail.

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