One in five consumers express high interest in personal health records

May 27, 2010

One in five consumers rated their interest in accessing personal health records through a secure Internet connection as high, said they would switch physicians to obtain access, and indicated that they would be very likely to use a mobile communication device to access them, according to the third annual Deloitte Center for Health Solutions Survey of Health Care Consumers.

One in five consumers rated their interest in accessing personal health records through a secure Internet connection as high, said they would switch physicians to obtain access, and indicated that they would be very likely to use a mobile communication device to access them, according to the third annual Deloitte Center for Health Solutions Survey of Health Care Consumers. Only 10 percent of survey respondents reported having a computerized personal health record, however.

Deloitte surveyed a nationally representative sample of 4,008 U.S. consumers aged at least 18 years via a Web-based questionnaire. The results were weighted to ensure proper proportional representation to the nation's population as reflected in the 2006 U.S. Census with respect to age, gender, income, race/ethnicity, and geography. The margin of error is +/- 1.6 percent at the .95 confidence level.

"Consumers tend to be resigned to the system when it comes to technology and service and have modest desires compared with other industries, such as retail, banking, and travel," says Paul H. Keckley, PhD, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides $22 billion for the investment in healthcare information technology, with $19.2 billion dedicated to increase the use of electronic health records by physicians and hospitals. This should help revolutionize the healthcare delivery system as reforms are implemented and the industry leverages stimulus funding to modernize health records."

Additional survey findings:

Five percent of survey participants reported using social networking sites to look for information about prescription drugs, and three percent said they use social networking sites to communicate with a physician or health plan.

Interest toward in-home monitoring devices appears to have decreased among all age groups. Sixty-four percent of respondents expressed interest in an in-home monitoring device in 2009, whereas 49 percent expressed interest in 2010.

Thirty-three percent of 2010 respondents said they are concerned about the security and protection of online personal health records, compared with 38 percent in 2009.