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Patients Eager to Access Their Health Records Online
A growing number of healthcare organizations are going digital and implementing electronic medical record systems; albeit, many are still slow to integrate patient portal capabilities which allow patients to access their personal health data online. As providers strive to meet federal regulations and appease patient preferences, things could soon be changing. This, especially as medical professionals gear up for meaningful use stage 2, which requires giving patients access online access to their health data.
According to a new Accenture survey of 1,100 patients, 90 percent of those polled want online access to self-service tasks such as appointment scheduling, prescription refill requests, and accessing their own health information. Surprisingly, however, 46 percent of surveyed patients have no idea that viewing their records online is even an option. Additionally, 33 percent of patients don’t know whether they can pay their medical bills online, receive electronic reminders, and view lab results. This lack of information means that patients are missing out on opportunities to become more involved in their health.
What providers need to do is make sure that their patients are aware of the presence of a patient portal system, as well as explaining what resources are available and what functions can be performed. “Online self-service has many potential benefits,” states the survey. “It helps reduce costs, drive efficiency and empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare. Healthcare providers should bear in mind that while in-person will never be out of style, they can better educate patients and ultimately drive greater adoption of self-service channels.”
Once healthcare organizations have settled in to the use of electronic medical record and patient portal systems, they can begin looking into email and mobile device-related patient communication options. Since patients spend so much of their time online on their smartphones, it is only natural that they would want to be able to control and view their medical data from those devices. In fact, the Accenture survey indicates that more than 60 percent of patients would like reminders sent to their mobile phone. If mobile applications existed to request appointments or prescription refills, patients would surely make use of them as well.
To view the full Accenture survey, Is Healthcare Self-Service Online Enough To Satisfy Patients?, click here.