Patients more comfortable with doctors who use EHRs

May 26, 2011

Good news if you use an electronic health record (EHR) system?and a tip on how best to use it, courtesy of the Sage Healthcare Insights survey: Patients feel more comfortable with physicians who use an EHR system, and they believe that the information contained in the medical record is more accurate when they physically see the information being entered electronically.

 

Good news if you use an electronic health record (EHR) system-and a tip on how best to use it, courtesy of the Sage Healthcare Insights survey: Patients feel more comfortable with physicians who use an EHR system, and they believe that the information contained in the medical record is more accurate when they physically see the information being entered electronically.

The Sage Healthcare Division of software firm Sage North America conducted the survey among patients and physicians to determine attitudes regarding EHR adoption. “What we learned is patients like to see their verbatim information entered into the record as they said it, not as the doctor interpreted it,” says Betty Otter-Nickerson, president of the Sage Healthcare Division.

Other findings:

  • About 42% physicians use an EHR system to document patient care, and about one-third use an EHR during patient encounters.

  • 62% of physicians and 81% of patients have positive perceptions of documenting patient care electronically.

  • 45% of patients had a “very positive” perception of their physicians or clinicians documenting patient care with a computer or other electronic device.

  • More than 60% of physicians believe that the best benefit to using EHR is the access they have to patient records in real time.

  • Physicians also believe that the ability to seamlessly share information with other doctors, pharmacies, and payers are among the most important benefits.

  • The majority of survey respondents agreed with the statement that EHR systems will help improve the quality of healthcare (78% of patients, 62% of physicians).

  • Although both physicians and patients believe that EHRs will help improve the quality of healthcare, both groups have concerns about privacy and the security of EHRs (81% of patients, 62% of physicians).

  • Given their use of and exposure to the security measures used to keep electronic medical records secure, physicians using EHRs have fewer concerns about the security of records.

  • 47% of patients recall seeing their physicians or their nurse/assistants taking notes in a computer or other electronic device, whereas only 39% of patients recall seeing their physicians or their nurse/assistants taking notes directly into computers during treatment.

  • Physicians and patients agreed on the benefits of using electronic devices to document patient care during an encounter.

  • The most important benefits of EHR systems agreed on by the two groups: 1) Provides real-time doctor access to patient medical records and histories; 2) When appropriate, helps physicians securely and seamlessly share information with other doctors, pharmacies, and payers; 3) Helps doctors make good decisions about patient care, ultimately driving the quality of patient care.

Overall, most physicians and patients agreed that medical records stored electronically will help improve patient care. Also, physicians and other clinicians who participated in the study said that EHRs are tool to help them perform their work more efficiently.

According to the survey, patients, on the other hand, increasingly expect their doctors to offer them access to EHRs and patient e-tools, and as a result, are encouraging their physicians to adopt more connected technologies, Otter-Nickerson says.

“Patients who participated in the survey said they had greater confidence in providers who use electronic records,” she says. “This suggests that there’s an opportunity for doctors to learn directly from their patients how to improve their practices and their patient relationships.”

The Sage Healthcare Insights study was conducted online in December 2010. The survey was sent to 7,738 physicians or other clinical users of a Sage product or service. The patient survey was sent to 18,000 healthcare consumers. Statistically, the sample size is large enough that the findings are applicable to the population.