Vermont residents displayed a strong awareness of electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange (HIE), proving comfortable with their health information being shared electronically, according to a recent survey from Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL), the state’s exclusive HIE.
The survey of 502 state residents, which was conducted in February by the Portland, Maine-based Market Decisions, found that 86 percent of respondents have heard a lot or heard some about EHRs. Additionally, 77 percent showed a high awareness of the state’s HIE, and 83 percent of residents also were very comfortable or somewhat comfortable with their healthcare provider storing their health information electronically.
When discussing the potential benefits of the HIE the survey found that Vermonters overwhelmingly agreed that the HIE will:
• Help better coordinate care between healthcare providers (91 percent)
• Allow healthcare providers access to the most accurate information about healthcare needs (90 percent)
• Allow healthcare providers to make informed decisions regarding patient care (89 percent)
• Increase patient safety (81 percent)
• Reduce unnecessary tests and procedures (78 percent)
Survey respondents also overwhelmingly believe the HIE will improve care in specific scenarios. For instance, 93 percent of respondents indicated the HIE will improve healthcare when the patient’s primary care physician has access to the most recent lab results prior to a preventative care visit, which can avoid redundant and unnecessary tests.
Another 93 percent indicated that in the event of emergency care while the patient is away from home, the provider would have the ability to search medication history and other important information prior to treatment in the emergency room.
When respondents were asked whether they believed the HIE will improve care when a family member’s provider is notified about the patient being discharged or transitioned to another healthcare facility such as a nursing home, 87 percent indicated such a scenario would improve healthcare for their loved one.
“The results from the survey are very encouraging and healthcare consumers clearly understand the benefits of health information technology and in particular the benefits of sharing of patient health information through the HIE,” John K. Evans, VITL president and CEO, said in a statement. “The potential benefits that the respondents to the survey believe can be achieved through the sharing of patient health information will lead to better healthcare outcomes for all state residents, which is the collective goal of providers, VITL, the state of Vermont and the Green Mountain Care Board.”