Most patients do not access their medical records electronically

February 10, 2011

Eighty-six percent of patients do not access their medical records electronically despite vast investments in electronic health records (EHR) systems and high hopes that consumers will use EHRs to participate in shared medical decision-making, according to research conducted by PwC's Health Research Institute in conjunction with its "Top Health Industry Issues of 2011" report. PwC surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers about their points of view on reform-related issues.

Eighty-six percent of patients do not access their medical records electronically despite vast investments in electronic health record (EHR) systems and high hopes that consumers will use EHRs to participate in shared medical decision-making, according to research conducted by PwC’s Health Research Institute in conjunction with its “Top Health Industry Issues of 2011” report. PwC surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers about their points of view on reform-related issues.

One of the top issues identified in the report is that record spending on health information technology (HIT) this year is likely to increase demand for skilled HIT professionals, an expanded role for chief information officers, and increased merger and acquisition activity among organizations looking to share the cost and benefits of HIT integration.

Also, the use of mobile health and wireless technologies by all health organizations is expected to continue to surge. Pharmaceutical companies in particular may use digital strategies and technology to increase visibility with consumers, influence health outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs while increasing revenue.

In addition to increased HIT spending and increased use of mobile health and wireless technologies, the institute identified several other top potential issues for 2011, including:

• significant changes in benefit plan design, plan pricing, and the health plan landscape as insurers adapt to new medical loss ratio;

• new risks and opportunities as payment models shift from fee-for-service to new models that focus on performance, health outcomes, and shared cost savings in accountable care organizations;

• health organizations feeling the trickle-down effect of decreased utilization by price-sensitive consumers; and

• a further uptick in merger and acquisition activity as health organizations share administrative burdens and IT investments, gain market share, and fill strategic gaps.