Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

EMR use leads to higher loyalty, satisfaction among patients

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

Close to half of all patients are basing the choice of a healthcare provider on digital access to their electronic health information, according to a survey conducted by Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners. This access includes viewing test results, ordering prescription refills, and making appointments online. The findings are in line with similar studies conducted by other research groups.

Comprising responses from one thousand Americans, the EMR Patient Impact Study indicates that a little less than a quarter of respondents (23%) are currently able to access their EMR with more than half (52%) showing interest in gaining that ability. Of those with EMR access, a significant majority (78%) reported being more satisfied with their providers; likewise, a slightly larger number (82%) contended that they were receiving a higher quality of care as a result of online access.

“The study findings clearly indicate a strong link between EMR users and their confidence in the quality of healthcare they receive,” Aeffect Vice President Tamara O’Shaughnessy said in a public statement. “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.”

The survey also provides stages of EMR adoption from the patient’s perspective:

• 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 business of health care is dependent upon meeting patients’ expectations,” observed Michael McGuire, Director of Strategy at 88 Brand Partners. “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.”

As a tool of patient empowerment, EMR access is of increasing importance to primary caregivers who are likelier than non-caregivers to make use of this access in coordinating the care of loved ones.

Other takeaways from the survey include the reasons patients prefer their doctors to use electronic records (e.g., ease of access, reliability and accuracy of records), the kind of patients are using records (e.g., younger consumers living in the Western US), and patient perceptions about the relative security of paper records as compared to EMRs.

More information about the survey is available here.

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