Access: The Key to 
Greater Confidence 
in Health Care

By: Laura Ward
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An EMR Patient Impact Study confirms those with full access to personal medical information via electronic health records (EHRs) are more loyal to their physicians and give them higher satisfaction ratings.

According to independent research firms Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners, physicians looking for an effective, long-term strategy to increase patient loads should start by adopting EHR technology into their practices. The firms conducted an online survey sampling 1,000 insured individuals nationwide ranging in age from 25 to 55 who had been seen by a medical provider within the past three years. Their findings show nearly 50 percent of patients surveyed favored the use of EHRs when choosing a healthcare provider and indicated it was an essential part of their overall medical care experience.

“There is a personal movement building toward gaining greater control of our own health care and the flow of information,” says Tamara O’Shaughnessy, Vice President of Aeffect. “Patients used to feed this control to their doctors. Today, there are a lot more choices and ways a person can manage their own healthcare with the help of EHRs.”

In the Know

With EHR use on the rise among physicians, hospitals, patients and caregivers, thorough and coordinated communication of medical information is fast becoming the norm. Research reveals 24 percent of young Americans use their EHRs for everything from reviewing clinical summaries to receiving up-to-the-minute information about test and lab results, and from ordering prescription refills remotely to scheduling appointments.

In addition, patient caregivers accessed EHRs for crucial information when making evidence-based decisions about a family member’s care.

Some patients questioned in the survey were not utilizing EHRs, but 52 percent were interested in doing so.

“As baby boomers age into great healthcare needs, seeing multiple specialists and having more procedures, I believe there will be a greater demand for access to EHRs,” O’Shaughnessy says. “Going forward, the demand for access to EHRs will go up, and healthcare providers are going to have to adapt to accommodate their patients’ information needs.”

Patients’ reasons for using EHRs include:

  • Access to medical records (40 percent)
  • Accuracy of record-keeping (18 percent)
  • Quality of care (17 percent)

When asked, most patients found EHRs to be more accurate and legible than a physician’s handwritten information but also ranked privacy and security as top concerns.

“In the beginning, customers expressed similar concerns over security issues regarding online banking and trust encryption,” O’Shaughnessy says. “As time goes by, EHRs will become more commonplace. Like online banking, the ease of use and convenience will outweigh security concerns.”