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Survey: Most Digital Health Users Are Not Using EHRs to Manage Their Health

May 2, 2016
by Heather Landi
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About 60 percent of consumers who use digital health tools say they have an electronic health record (EHR), yet only 22 percent of these patients are accessing EHRs to help make medical decisions, according to a survey by HealthMine.

According to the survey, 40 percent of consumers polled do not have an EHR, and of the 60 percent who do, more than half only access it to “stay informed.”

While 71 percent of consumers who participated in the survey said they are able to access their EHR when they need to, 29 percent who say they do have an EHR report that they are getting very little benefit from it. Specifically, 15 percent reported that it is difficult to understand the information contained in the EHR, 10 percent said they don’t review the information in the EHR and 4 percent said they can’t access it or don’ know how to access it.

When examining what type of information patients have access to, more than two-thirds (69 percent) can access lab work and blood results and 60 percent can see prescription medical history. And, while 55 percent have access to billing information, less than half (44 percent) do not have access to all the information that their provider sees. And, only 47 percent can access the physician notes.

In addition, 43 percent can access their immunization status and only 35 percent can see X-rays or nuclear imaging results.

Bryce Williams, CEO and president of HealthMine, a consumer health engagement vendor, said that electronic health records are still in the early phases of consumer adoption and have the potential to engage consumers more directly in managing their health. “Wellness programs can help bridge the gap between EHR adoption and understanding by making the information both meaningful and actionable for patients.”

In recent years, there has been a push in the healthcare industry to accelerate information sharing between patients and providers with initiatives such as the OpenNotes movement, which allows patients electronic access to their providers’ notes in their medical records.

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