Consumers get serious about their EMRs
As patient engagement grows, a new survey indicates that a growing number of U.S. consumers (41 percent) would be willing to switch doctors to gain online access to their own electronic medical records. Doctors, though, are not as eager to make the change.
The survey, of more than 9,000 people in nine countries, shows that 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.
"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," said Kaveh Safavi, MD, managing director of Accenture's North America health business. “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.”
[See also: Cleveland Clinic opens EMR to patients.]
Roughly four out of five consumers (84 percent) surveyed believe they should have full access to their electronic medical record while only a third of physicians (36 percent) share this belief. In contrast, the majority of U.S. doctors (65 percent) say patients should only have limited access to their records and that is what most individuals (63 percent) say they currently have.
"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," added Safavi.
Accenture conducted an online survey of 9,015 adults ages 18 and older 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 survey, which included 1,000 U.S. consumers, was fielded by Harris Interactive in July 2013. Where relevant, the survey compares select findings from the Accenture Doctors Survey to compare the doctor and consumer responses.