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Patients Want a More Digitized Healthcare, Survey Finds

December 14, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Patients are dissatisfied with the lack of a central location for their health records, as well as the difficulty in accessing and sharing those records, according to a new survey from Surescripts.

The 2016 Connected Care and the Patient Experience survey from the Arlington, Va.-based e-prescribing vendor further found that patients are expecting to see digitized care settings in the very near future through the use of telehealth and other technologies. The report included information from some 1,000 U.S. adults.  

Indeed, the survey data revealed that most patients (94 percent) feel their medical information and records should be stored electronically in a single location. This lack of central storage of electronic records forces patients to take matters into their own hands. In fact, 58 percent of patients have tried to compile their own complete medical history—a task that is not just tedious, but often inaccurate and incomplete, the survey found.

Along with the desire for efficiency, patients feel that lives are at stake when their doctors don’t have access to their complete medication history. Most patients (93 percent) feel doctors would save time if their medication history was stored in one location, and 90 percent feel that this would make their doctor less likely to prescribe the wrong medication.

“Despite major medical and technological advancements in our country, and the fact that patients are more active consumers of care, healthcare is still inefficient, complex and unsatisfying for them,” Tom Skelton, CEO of Surescripts, said in a statement.

Additionally, patients are increasingly dissatisfied with the amount of time and effort they’re spending on recounting medical information and waiting in doctors’ offices or pharmacies. They’re typically spending an average of 8 minutes telling their doctor their medical history (up from 6 minutes in 2015) and 8 minutes filling out paperwork at a typical doctor visit (up from 6 minutes in 2015). Four out of 5 patients (80 percent) feel they should only have to complete this paperwork the first time they visit a new provider. These repeat scenarios often stem from a lack of patient data access and information exchange between providers, the report noted.

Within a more consumer-centric healthcare marketplace, patients are now playing a more active role in their care plans. They want more choices for how and where they receive care through alternatives like telehealth, mobile and other electronic means. More than half (52 percent) of patients surveyed expect doctors to start offering remote visits, and more than one third (36 percent) believe most doctor appointments will be remote in the next ten years. Patients also expect to use telehealth to receive their prescriptions from their doctor (61 percent) and would trust a prescription from a remote doctor (64 percent).

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