Survey Finds Healthy Consumer Demand For Electronic Health Records
As healthcare providers determine how they will
take advantage of the $19 billion allocated in the stimulus package to
help jumpstart advances in health information technology (HIT),
consumer appetite for electronic health records (EHRs), online tools
and services is also growing, according to the result of the 2009
Deloitte Survey of Healthcare Consumers.
While only 9 percent of consumers surveyed have an
electronic personal health record (PHR), 42 percent are interested in
establishing PHRs connected online to their physicians. Fifty-five
percent want the ability to communicate with their doctor via e-mail to
exchange health information and get answers to questions.
Fifty-seven percent reported they’d be
interested in scheduling appointments, buying prescriptions and
completing other transactions online if their information is protected.
Technologies that can facilitate consumer
transactions with providers and health plans, like integrated billing
systems that make bill payment faster and more convenient, are also
appealing to nearly half (47 percent) of consumers surveyed.
The survey of more than 4,000 U.S. consumers 18
and over was released at the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference held in Chicago.
It is the second annual study examining healthcare
consumers’ attitudes, behaviors and unmet needs conducted by
the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.
"Consumers are increasingly embracing innovations
that enhance self-care, convenience, personalization and control of
personal health information," said Paul H. Keckley, executive director,
Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "Consumers want a bigger say in
their healthcare decisions. Consumer demand for HIT and its potential
impact on reforming the system has never been stronger."
Despite strong consumer demand, many are still
reluctant about privacy and security of their medical information.
Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) of consumers surveyed are very concerned
about the privacy and security of personal health information. Another
24 percent said they had no reservations about it; interestingly, women
over the age of 65 and men between the ages of 18 to 24 were least
risk-averse to sharing personal health information online.
Women are also more likely than men to seek online
access to doctors, medical records and tools. They are also more
interested in using secure Web sites and are slightly more trusting of
the information they locate about care and treatment through
independent health-related Web sites, the study revealed.
Additional findings from the survey:
- 6 in 10 endorse government establishment of
standards for how medical information is collected, stored and
- 4 in 10 (42 percent) favor increasing
government funding and incentives to support the adoption of electronic
medical records by doctors, hospitals and health plans (2 in 10
oppose). Support is highest among Generation Y, those born from
1977-1994, (44 percent); Generation X, those born from 1961-1981 or
from 1965-1976, (43 percent); and seniors (43 percent).
- 68 percent are interested in home or remote
monitoring devices that permit them to monitor their conditions and
electronically report it to their physicians; interest is particularly
high among seniors (78 percent) and those with chronic conditions (75
- 30 percent of prescription medication users say
they purchased medications online or through mail order in the previous
12 months; Medicaid enrollees were the most likely to report this (37
- 41 percent of all consumers say
they’d be likely to order medications online or by mail order
if they were to develop a health condition that required regular
According to additional Deloitte analysis,
"Reducing Costs While Improving the U.S. Health CareSystem: The Health
Care Reform Pyramid," the investment of $50 billion for HIT over five
years, to which the administration has pledged $19 billion in the
stimulus package, has the potential to achieve net-present-value (NPV)
savings as high as $90 billion over 10 years. The advantages of
personalized medicine in tandem with comparative effectiveness and HIT
could achieve NPV savings as high as $140 billion over 10 years.
Address: Deloitte, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY
10019; (212) 489-1600, www.deloitte.com.