A new Optum Institute/Harris Interactive national survey published today provides new insights into U.S. consumers’ willingness to go online to view their medical records and engage with care providers. While 70 percent of physicians surveyed have basic Electronic Medical Record (EMR) capabilities, only 40 percent of physicians say they have the capability to engage with patients via email or provide patients with access to their health records. Consumers are clearly ready to use technology-enabled features today: 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,” said Simon Stevens, chairman of the Optum Institute. “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.” Key Survey Findings The survey gauges the opinions of consumers, physicians and hospital executives on the current state of patient engagement and Health Information Technology (Health IT) adoption. The survey identified several key themes that make a compelling case for increased deployment of technology-based tools that enhance patient engagement:
- Consumers are ready to use Health IT today: three out of four consumers are willing to go online to view their medical records; more than 60 percent want the ability to communicate with their doctor by email or Internet.
- It is not just the young who are online. More than half of all seniors surveyed (57 percent) are ready to go online to manage their health and communicate with their care providers.
- Mobile devices offer opportunities to connect quickly and easily, but also carry security concerns; the young, minorities and Medicaid beneficiaries especially want to communicate with care providers via text messaging.