News Feature | September 20, 2013

2 Of 5 Patients Would Switch Providers To Gain EMR Access

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer


Physicians are reluctant to allow patients online access to their health records and may lose them as a result

Accenture Connected Health Services found in a recent survey more than 40 percent of patients would change doctors in order to gain access to an online EMR. According to release posted on Business Wire, “Accenture conducted an online survey of 9,015 adults ages 18+ to assess consumer perceptions of their medical providers' electronic capabilities across nine countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.”

The release quotes Kaveh Safavi M.D., J.D., managing director of Accenture's North America health business, as saying, "The rise of Meaningful Use mandates and a growing trend of self-care among consumers is shifting the role of an EMR from a mere clinical repository to a platform for shared decision-making among consumers and doctors.

“Just as consumers can self-manage most other aspects of their lives, they expect to take greater ownership of their medical care, and they are willing to switch to doctors who share their values and are willing to provide access to consumer records. When consumers are part of the record-keeping process, it can increase their understanding of conditions, improve motivation and serve as a clear differentiator for clinical care.”

According to HealthcareIT News, the survey also revealed, “Only about a third of U.S. consumers (36 percent) currently have full access to their EMR, but more than half (57 percent) have taken ownership of their record by self-tracking their personal health information, including their health history (37 percent), physical activity (34 percent), and health indicators (33 percent), such as blood pressure and weight.”

iHealth Beat reports “When U.S. consumers were asked about specific online capabilities:

  • 48% said they could request prescription refills;
  • 43% said they had access to medical records;
  • 43% said they could request appointments;
  • 36% said they could email with medical providers; and
  • 36% said they had access to electronic reminders.”

Hospitals are responding to the growing patient demand for more access to records and, according to HealthcareIT News, some are beginning to act on it. In June, the Cleveland Clinic launched MyChart, an online portal patients can use to access their records and take control of their care. “Patients continue to ask for more, and we feel that they need to have more information in their hands to be more engaged in their care,” said Lori Posk, MD, medical director for MyChart.

Toby Cosgrove, MD, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic, believes in engaging patients through EMRs, saying, “Our 21st century, value-based healthcare delivery system requires that patients are actively engaged in their health and healthcare decision-making. It is our job to provide MyChart-activated patients with the tools and information they need to make informed decisions about their own healthcare, under the guidance and expert advice of their physicians.”