Patients increasingly trust, value EHRs, survey finds

In the era of patient engagement, patients are utilizing health IT tools to become more active in their care.

Last year, 86 percent of patients used their EHR at least once, and 55 percent used them at least three times a year, according to a study by National Partnership for Women & Families.

The survey was a follow-up to the organization's 2011 survey that aimed to assess consumer views toward EHRs and health IT. The most recent survey repeated questions from the 2011 survey to identify and assess trends in consumer attitudes following federal and state IT incentive programs, such as meaningful use.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll between April 22 and May 7, 2014, gathering responses from 2,045 adults.

Here are five more key findings from the report.

  1. The percentage of adults whose physicians use EHRs instead of paper records increased from 64 percent in 2011 to 80 percent in 2014.
  1. Currently, 85 to 96 percent of patients found EHRs useful in different aspects of care delivery, compared to 57 to 68 percent in 2011.
  1. Patients have doubled their online access to their records over the past three years, growing from 26 percent in 2011 to 50 percent in 2014.
  1. Patients who have online access to their EHRs have a higher level of trust in their physician and medical staff than patients who don't have online access to their EHRs, at 77 and 67 percent, respectively.
  1. Reviewing test results is the most commonly named desired functionality of online access to EHRs (75 percent), followed by scheduling appointments (64 percent), submitting medication refill requests (59 percent), review physician notes (58 percent), review treatment plans (56 percent) and email providers (56 percent).

"To date, the public discourse on health IT has largely focused on the views of doctors, hospitals and vendors," said Debra Ness, president of National Partnership. "It's crucial to hear what patients have to say about how they experience EHRs and health IT as they receive care and manage their health."

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