When practices use advanced products to supply EHR, their information is secure and provides much needed cross-functionality for both the patient and the physician, and healthcare consumers (patients) tell us that they expect to have the same type of connection with their doctors that they have with other businesses in their daily lives, even if they are a bit leery about what they consider lack of security, and physicians are discovering that they must adopt technology because their patients are demanding it.
Because of this, an opportunity may exist for those of us in the HIT community to educate health care consumers about the benefits of EHRs in their ownership of their records and their connection to their providers. But, what may prove to be the most important is the fact that the true drivers in the healthcare market may be consumers. Patients overwhelmingly agree that electronic medical records will help improve care. From our research, patients are willing to switch doctors if their doctor does not use an EHR. One reason is that patients feel that the data input in the EHR more closely mirrors what they share with their physician. And they want that clarity in the event other health professionals need to review their record.
Healthcare and the healthcare environment are evolving according to the changing market, and will continue to do so. With the trend progressing toward patients having more complete access to data, the consumption of healthcare information is growing and the medical community can see across populations and manage care – chronic care, for example – more easily on a more global level. This is also a major piece to meaningful use.