Healthcare News & Insights

Why do fewer than 10% of patients use EMRs?

Most Americans love to do things online if they can, but the vast majority don’t use electronic medical records. What’s behind the disconnect?

According to a recent Harris Poll, fewer than one in ten patients are using EMRs — and  half aren’t even sure they’re an option at their doctors’ offices. But most would like to get started.

Health care providers and consumer advocates have been talking up the records for years, and the Obama administration is encouraging greatly expanded use of EMRs. But patients seem to have received only half the message.

Seventy-eight percent of patients agree that doctors should have access to their medical records. But in practice, the numbers are dismal: Just 28% “thought” their doctors used EMRs, and another 42% said they had no idea if their doctor used them.

Worse: Only 9% can communicate with doctors via email. Online appointment scheduling and sharing of diagnostic tests are only available to 8%.

Clearly, somewhere along the line, patients aren’t getting all the information about their options.

What steps can health care providers take to get more patients using EMRs? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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