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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: August 25, 2009
Deloitte 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 exchanged.
  • 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 percent).
  • 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 percent).
  • 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 medication.

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.


  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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