Healthcare Patients Insist On E-Access: Accenture Study - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Healthcare // Patient Tools
10:30 AM

Healthcare Patients Insist On E-Access: Accenture Study

Patients want more access to their medical records online, but want to maintain their personal contact with doctors, according to new Accenture research.

Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Doctors, heed the call: The vast majority of patients want to access and manage their health information online. That's the conclusion of a recently released Accenture study in which 90% of the 1,100 patients polled reported that they want online self-service options to help them perform a variety of tasks including accessing their health information, scheduling appointments, and refilling prescriptions.

The study, entitled Is Healthcare Self-Service Online Enough To Satisfy Patients?, shows that while patients want more online options, they also want to maintain personal interactions with their clinician. In fact, 85% of respondents said they want the option of communicating with their doctor in person. The study also revealed that those who primarily live in rural areas are less likely to want their records available online.

The survey, conducted online from March 30 through April 4, also showed that nearly half of patients (46%) don't even know if their health records are available electronically. The survey's authors' note that physicians have an opportunity to inform patients of what self-service options are available to them, and by doing so physicians can encourage greater patient responsibility, which will improve healthcare delivery overall.

[ Which medical apps are doctors and patients turning to? Read 9 Mobile Health Apps Worth A Closer Look. ]

"Online self-service has many potential benefits: it helps reduce costs, drive efficiency, and empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare," the report states. "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."

The survey also examined what technology patients preferred to use to log onto health-related web sites. For example, 73% want to refill prescriptions using health apps on mobile devices, while 72% prefer to refill their prescriptions over a website using a desktop or laptop. An overwhelming majority of patients (88%) prefer to receive digital reminders for preventative or follow-up care via email, and 63% want to receive these reminders via a mobile device.

Additionally, 72% of patients reported that they want to book, change, or cancel appointments using a computer or laptop, while 68% want to use mobile devices to manage their medical appointments.

According to Kaveh Safavi, who leads Accenture's North America health industry group, many patients pay their bills, correspond with their insurance companies, and read their bank statements online. It is, therefore, inevitable that patients would want to engage their healthcare provider and control their medical data over secure websites, and it's the idea of options in addition to personal contact with the physician that is critical to understanding patients' demands.

Safavi also said that as patients' demands bring additional pressure to bear on a more competitive healthcare marketplace, physicians will cave in to those who aren't only looking for physicians to manage their health, but also want their doctors to adopt technologies such as personal health records.

"Physicians tend to underestimate patients' desire to have access to and to control their own information," Safavi said. "It's not an either/or conversation. What patients are describing is a preference for options, not the idea that they want, for example, to self-manage their health data to the exclusion of having the ability to interact with the clinician."

Get the new, all-digital Healthcare CIO 25 issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. It's our second annual honor roll of the health IT leaders driving healthcare's transformation. (Free registration required.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
6/28/2012 | 9:34:55 PM
re: Healthcare Patients Insist On E-Access: Accenture Study
Very Interesting take. Physician notes remain one of the greatest points of contention and dispute in terms of patient access to PHRs. For those patients who want access to their whole record including patient notes, the resounding mantra is, Gǣmy body, my record.Gǥ Personally, I tend to fall on the Gǣfull accessGǥ side of the fence, with the possible exception of psych notes. But I believe it is worth understanding the positions of both patients and physicians.
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
Northwestern Mutual CIO: Riding Out the Pandemic
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/7/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Flash Poll