Health-Care consumers are embracing IT

Doctors, it’s time to catch up: consumers are increasingly willing to interact with health information technology, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Optum Institute and Harris Interactive, polled 4,270 physicians, patients and hospital executives.

According to the survey, patients are ready to use technology with health care: eighty-four percent would like online prescription refills; 75 percent would like to receive test results and access their medical records online; and 60 percent want to communicate with their doctors via email.

And that’s the case not just for younger generations, but for older ones as well. More than half of seniors surveyed are willing to go online to communicate with their physicians and manage their medical records.

Unfortunately, technology already in place and used by doctors lags behind a bit. While 70 percent of physicians have basic electronic medical records (EMRs), only 40 percent of physicians can engage with patients via email or provide patients with access to their health records.

Email has been widespread for nearly two decades, yet most patients still can’t reach out to their physicians through email. This shows that physicians should look into using email to communicate with patients.

“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,” says Simon Stevens, chairman of the Optum Institute.

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