CHICAGO, Aug. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — An estimated 24 percent of Americans surveyed are currently using electronic medical records (EMRs) to check their test results, order prescription refills and make appointments. Yet another 52 percent say they are interested in using EMRs, but currently are not accessing these systems, for a variety of reasons. With almost 50 percent of patients taking EMR access into consideration when choosing a healthcare provider, the effective use of EMRs by providers is critical, according to a national consumer study by independent research firms Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners.
As the 2015 government deadline for physicians to adopt certified EMR systems approaches, nearly 75 percent of consumers indicate that they are already using (23%) or interested in using (52%) electronic medical records. Those patients who have used EMRs are significantly more satisfied with their doctors overall (78% versus 68%). They also express higher satisfaction across multiple specific dimensions of care, such as ease of access to information and clarity and thoroughness of communication, according to the EMR Patient Impact Study. Furthermore, while those who do use EMRs feel a stronger loyalty to their doctors, they also believe they receive better quality of care (82%). EMR users believe they engage in clearer and more responsive communications with their physicians, and can gain access to information easier than non EMR users.
This study comes at a time when, thanks in part to monetary incentives from the federal government, many health systems have already made the leap to EMR systems. EMR use by physicians has risen from nearly 26 percent in 2010 to more than 38 percent in 2012. The increase among hospitals has been even more dramatic – from 15 percent in 2010 to 44 percent in 2012.i
Despite these incentives, many providers hesitate to embrace EMRs due to additional expenses related to implementing the technology. Results from the EMR Patient Impact Study offer support to move ahead, revealing a link between patients’ use of EMRs and their perceptions of loyalty and satisfaction toward their physician – a connection undocumented until now.
“The study findings clearly indicate a strong link between EMR users and their confidence in the quality of healthcare they receive,” says Tamara O’Shaughnessy, Vice President, Aeffect. “There is solid evidence that the investment providers continue to make in EMR systems is likely to put adopters at a competitive advantage and yield dividends beyond the expected operational efficiencies—namely it will enhance patient loyalty and satisfaction,” she explains.
Additionally, the EMR Patient Impact Study has identified four segments of EMR users, ranging from the disinterested, non-user, to the regular user.
Stages of EMR adoption
- Stage 1 – Disinterested Non-Users (18%) believe EMRs are no more accurate than paper files; say they don’t need their medical information outside of their doctors’ offices.
- Stage 2 – Interested Non-Users (52%) tend to be less satisfied with their physician than any other type of user; most influenced by physicians encouragement of using EMRs.
- Stage 3 – Trial Users (9%) have the highest share of women and non-white consumers than any other group; one-third have just recently started using EMRs within the last six months.
- Stage 4 – Regular Users (13%) prefer emailing their doctor instead of calling or meeting in-person; one in three are caregivers to an adult family member; 67 percent say online access would be very influential in their choice of a new doctor.
“The study provides healthcare providers with valuable insight into not only who is using EMR but why they are adopting the technology,” says Michael McGuire, Director of Strategy, 88 Brand Partners. “The business of health care is dependent upon meeting patients’ expectations. EMR users are telling us that they are more confident in the coordination of care they’re being provided, and think more highly of their doctors, simply because of the information technology in use,” he says.
Caregivers accessing EMRs
Primary caregivers to adult family members are among those who regularly use EMRs. The EMR Patient Impact Study reveals that one in three caregivers (33%) have used an EMR, either on the web or via a mobile device, compared to 21 percent of non-caregivers. Caregivers are using EMRs to provide assistance with medical appointments, or making medical decisions for their loved one.
Other Study Highlights
- Consumers who prefer their doctor to use an electronic chart cited numerous reasons including: access to medical records (40%); accuracy/better record keeping (18%); and coordination of care and information sharing (e.g. in case of emergency) (17%).
- EMR utilization is higher among consumers who are younger, live in the Western part of the United States, have higher levels of education, and provide care to an adult family member. An estimated 34 percent of residents of Western states report having tried an EMR.
- Consumers do not believe that paper charts are more secure than EMRs (28% agree). However, nearly 40 percent (39%) believe that electronic medical records are more accurate than paper charts.
For a full copy of the report, visit www.EMRPatientImpact.com.
Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners conducted a nationwide online survey in December 2012. The survey consisted of 40 questions on topics related to use of electronic medical records (EMRs). A total of n=1000 surveys were completed. Respondents are between the ages of 25 – 55, have some type of health insurance, have seen a physician within the past three years, and have a regular doctor.
Aeffect, Inc. is a research and consulting firm with more than 20 years of experience helping health systems, government agencies, major medical centers, and other health entities gather and leverage actionable insights into strategic marketing and business decisions. Visit:www.aeffect.com.
88 Brand Partners is a strategic communications and creative agency with more than 20 years of experience across the spectrum of healthcare industries — including health systems, hospitals, wellness centers and professional associations. Visit:www.88brandpartners.com.
[i] “Health Information Technology in the United States: Better Information Systems for Better Care, 2013“, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health and Mathematica Policy Research.