Consumers willing to switch physicians for EHR access

September 30, 2013

In line with a growing trend of consumers taking more responsibility for their health, more than 40% of American consumers say they would change doctors to gain full access to their electronic health record.

Not allowing patients access to their electronic health records (EHRs) could wind up costing you business.

A recent survey from the consulting firm Accenture reveals that 41% of American consumers would be willing to change their doctor to get access to their own EHR. Just one one-third (36%) of American consumers currently have full access to their EHR, according to the survey. However, 57% of Americans report self-tracking elements of their personal health information such as physical activity, as well as health indicators such as blood pressure and weight.

Growing consumer interest in EHR access is the result of the federal government’s meaningful use mandates and a growing trend towards self-care, according to Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD, managing director of Accenture’s North America health business. “Just as consumers can self-manage most other aspects fo their lives, they expect to take greater ownership of their medical care, and they are willing to switch to doctors who…are willing to provide access to consumer records,” Safavi said in a news release.

Among the objectives physicians and practices and meet to qualify for the second round of meaningful use (MU2) incentives are that they provide their patients with the ability to view their health information online within 4 days of the information being available to the physician, and that at least 5% of a practice’s patients access their health information online.

Eighty-four percent of consumers surveyed believe that they should have full access to their medical records, but only 36% of the doctors agreed.  Slightly more than a third (36%) of consumers surveyed said they now do have full access to their EHR, with 27% reporting limited access and 37% reporting no access.

The information regarding consumer attitudes towards EHRs was taken from a larger survey of 9,000 adults in nine countries Accenture conducted in July 2013. The survey included 1,000 U.S. consumers.