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Survey: Patients Eager to Use Online Health Tools, Provider Systems Lag

September 21, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a recent survey from health analytics and services firm, the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Optum Institute, consumers are eager to use online healthcare tools, but physician systems aren’t yet up to par. While 70 percent of physicians surveyed said they have basic Electronic Medical Record (EMR) capabilities, only 40 percent of physicians have the capability to engage with patients via email or provide patients with access to their health records.

This poses a major problem because consumers are ready to use technology-enabled features. Three out of four consumers say they are willing to go online to view their medical records, and more than 60 percent want to communicate with their doctors via email or the Internet.

“Nearly two decades after email has become widespread, most patients say they want to – but still can’t – email their care provider,” Simon Stevens, chairman of the Optum Institute, said in a statement. “This research underlines the need for health information systems that can talk to each other, and that allow patients to access their own health information.”

This survey includes answers from 1,000 U.S. physicians, 2,870 U.S. adults, and 400 U.S. hospital executives. Results were weighted to reflect the respective populations of interest: physician results were weighted to represent national characteristics of patient care physicians, based on the AMA Masterfile; consumer results were weighted to represent the demographics of the U.S. general population aged 18 and above; hospital results were weighted to represent the hospital distribution in the US according to bed size and region.

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