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Consumers Optimistic that EMRs will Improve Patient Care

October 9, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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About three-fourths of consumers in a recent survey believe that electronic medical records (EMRs) will improve the quality of healthcare in general.

The research from The Physicians Foundation, an organization seeking to empower physicians to lead in the delivery of quality and cost-efficient healthcare, included responses from more than 1,700 consumers. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they believe EMRs either help patient care a great deal (42 percent) or help somewhat (43 percent). Six percent of consumer respondents said that EMRs hurt patient care somewhat, with 2 percent reporting that they hurt patient care a great deal.

Further, 74 percent of consumers said they think EMRs will improve the quality of healthcare in general—up from 67 percent in the 2016 survey. Regarding access, 82 percent of respondents said they think all doctors should provide patients with EMR access, while 79 percent said they feel that all doctors should have EMR access themselves. But, 77 percent of those surveyed said that their doctor actually provides them with EMR access, compared to 66 percent in the previous year’s survey.

Overall, 85 percent of consumers said that technological advances in healthcare will greatly improve the quality of care patients receive. But 77 percent said they wish doctors would listen to patients more, with a little less than half of respondents (46 percent) noting that their doctor spends more time looking at his/her computer/tablet and less time looking at the patient.

The survey also asked both consumers and physicians to what degree patient care is adversely impacted by external factors such as third-party authorization, treatment protocols, and EMR designs. Seventy-two percent of physician respondents, who were polled in a previous survey for their answers, said that patient care is adversely impacted by these factors either by “a great degree,” or “a good degree” compared to 60 percent of consumers, respectively.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of patients (95 percent) reported satisfaction with their primary care physician, but just 11 percent of patients and 14 percent of physicians reported that they have all the time they need together. This signals a significant challenge to providing high-quality care, especially when 90 percent of patients said they feel the most essential element of a quality healthcare system is a solid physician-patient relationship, according to the survey data.

The complete survey data can be accessed here.

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