A recent study by Black Book Research revealed that tech-savvy patients expect their doctors to use health information technology, however, another study by the same research company found that patients don’t trust health IT. This presents quite a quandary for physicians who want to appease their patients’ desires but don’t want to scare them away.
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The research also showed that 94% of physicians said they’re deluged with what they think is useless data.
Kevin Grassi, MD, a pediatrician at Glens Falls Hospital in New York, and chief medical officer and co-founder of PatientBank—a company that helps patients gather, store and share their medical records—notes maintaining the electronic medical record is absolutely overwhelming for doctors, and understands why many are frustrated.
“I believe that much of that comes from the fact that we do little with the data we gather in healthcare,” he tells Medical Economics. “Of course there are institutions that use healthcare data in ways that improve their patient’s health, but the lack of interoperability [different EMRs don’t communicate) limits the interesting things you can do with the data.”
Utilzing health IT
Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD, a board-certified physician in family and integrative medicine, appreciates when her patients track their health data, as it allows her to be far more accurate in her assessment and recommendations.
“It would be naive to imagine that our patients won’t be trying the latest gadgets for personal health monitoring (and wanting to share the data with us), or using the power of the internet to research their own conditions,” she told Medical Economics in an email. “I like to see this as a positive step. I appreciate a patient actively engaged in his or her own wellness. This makes the likelihood of finding effective interventions for their condition much higher.”
Kristen Heffernan, general manager, Henry Schein Medical Systems Inc., developers of MicroMD Practice Management and Electronic Health Records, notes millennial expectations for on-demand care, price transparency, quality and value are helping to drive the use of health IT, and Baby Boomers have also become more savvy in their use of technology.
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“Realistically, all patients desire easy and efficient ways to navigate the health care system and connect with their providers,” she says. “While not every patient may be as tech savvy or agreeable to using the offered HIT tools, the tools offer a level of choice, access, autonomy and efficiency that patients desire.”