Patients still struggle with EHR access and use

March 24, 2011

Only 14% of patients get their medical records electronically from their physician?s offices, and 30% don?t know why they would need to do so, finds a new report by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute. The finding has implications for you and your peers in practices and organizations that hope to reap federal stimulus payments.

Only 14% of patients get their medical records electronically from their physicians' offices, and 30% don’t know why they would need to do so, finds a new report by the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute. The finding has implications for you and your peers in practices and organizations that hope to reap federal stimulus payments.

“Successful use of electronic health information will ultimately be measured in better patient outcomes, higher quality, and reduced costs,” says Bruce Henderson, director and national leader of the EHR-HIE practice for PwC.

The “Putting Patients into Meaningful Use” report details these and other findings of a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers:

  • One-half of respondents said that to get their health information, they still call their physicians' office or hospital for a paper record. Eleven percent of participants said they don’t know how to get their health records.

  • Of those who can access their medical records electronically, 34% said they share the information with primary care physicians and specialists.

  • Although basic information about prescriptions and appointments is readily available to those who have electronic access to medical records, 55% of respondents said they can’t access lab results or physician visit notes.

  • Only 13% of participants said they have ever been asked by their doctor or hospital what they think about electronic health records (EHRs), despite the fact that 56% said they would be willing to talk about what they would like available in an EHR and how they would like to use it.

  • When patients were asked how they would like electronic health information to be used, the top answer (66%) was for physicians to follow-up on their conditions, followed by scheduling appointments (59%) and to learn about treatment information (53%).

  • Thirty-five percent of participants said would like their physicians to use the information to monitor their adherence to current treatments, and 34% said they would like their physicians to be able to monitor their health conditions remotely via a device that automatically sends information.

  • About one-fourth of respondents said they would like to share electronic health information with family members to better understand family medical history.