Patients want more control of care, but few use PHRs

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Consumers want to take more control over their healthcare, but only 19 percent said they have access to a personal health record, according to a new Wolters Kluwer Health survey.

In the poll of 1,000 consumers, 80 percent said that taking greater control of their healthcare is positive for Americans. Indeed, 86 percent said they have to be more proactive to ensure better quality of care, and 76 percent said they have the information and tools to manage such aspects as choosing healthcare providers and researching treatment options.

"With greater responsibility placed on patients to take a role in their own care, it's essential that consumers have access to evidence-based tools and resources to make informed decisions about their care in partnership with their healthcare providers," Linda Peitzman, Wolters Kluwer Health chief medical officer said in an announcement.

Thirty percent said they want their patient experience to include the same choices and control that they find in any other customer experience, such as with shopping, hotels and travel. Nineteen percent said that with reputations being equal, they would choose a physician in a technologically advanced office, including the ability to communicate with doctors and nurses by email and to schedule appointments online, a factor rated behind only the cost of services (20 percent) in importance. Location (19 percent) and friendliness of staff (14) rounded out the top four factors.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires providers to have at least 5 percent of patients using a portal, and a recent KLAS survey found 57 percent of health systems, hospitals and clinics offer that capability. The Meaningful Use Stage 3 rules, which are open for comment, will move beyond implementation to a "collaborative, patient and family-centric approach," according to Jodi G. Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and Planning.

A report from the Bipartisan Policy Center called electronic tools vital to engaging patients in their own healthcare. It called for not only building awareness among healthcare professionals, but among consumers, as well.

In September, the American Health Information Management Association released an online guide to help consumers access and use their PHRs.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- find the survey results

Related Articles:
KLAS: More than half of providers offer patient portals
Meaningful Use Stage 3 comments period opens with an emphasis on patient engagement
Bipartisan Policy Center: Online tools key to patient engagement
AHIMA creates online personal health records guide for consumers