Physicians adopt electronic health records (EHR) for many reasons. It might be because they are naturally tech savvy, feel their office can run more smoothly with electronic records, see value in EHRs for their patients or simply because they want to comply with healthcare reform. But physicians who have not yet adopted an EHR might now have an even more compelling reason to do so – patient desire.
A recent national report entitled “Making IT Meaningful: How Consumers Value and Trust Health IT” surveyed patients across the U.S. to collect feedback on EHRs. The study found that three out of four paper system respondents want their doctor to adopt an EHR. Of note, more than 80 percent of all patients surveyed, regardless of whether their physician currently uses an EHR, saw value in EHRs. Patients placed particular value on the impact of EHRs on quality care, and 73 percent of respondents said their doctor’s use of an EHR has a positive impact on the overall quality of healthcare services, compared with 26 percent of respondents who felt the same about their physician’s paper record system.
In addition to increased quality of care, what are some other reasons patients want their physicians to adopt EHRs?
- Paperwork – Patients routinely have to manually fill out paperwork and other forms at every office visit. However, if a physician uses an EHR, it’s easy for office staff to review what is in the system and ask for any updates. For the patient, this means no more hand-written forms and time saved in the waiting room.
- Prescription management – Prescriptions can be a huge expense for patients, but if a physician uses an EHR system that includes ePrescribing, the physician can confirm if a prescription is covered by a patient’s insurance and the level of coverage at the time of prescribing. If the medication is not covered or is too expensive, the physician can search for alternatives while the patient is still in the office. This translates to significant savings for patients.
- Ease of record sharing – Many patients, especially the elderly, have family members who care for them or are an advocate for their healthcare treatment. Since advocates or family members can’t be at every appointment, they can be alerted to any issues like an increase in blood pressure or other health factors. Family can also help with monitoring patient medications because they are given a record of what is prescribed. Additionally, if there is an emergency, records are readily available to share with a hospital, surgeon or other specialist.
It’s important to remember that it is not only physicians who are impacted by switching from paper to electronic records. Patients appreciate and see great value in doctors using EHRs.
We would like to hear your opinion. Do you think patients have benefited from your use of an EHR?