Healthcare News & Insights

One health IT area providers and patients can’t agree on

Hospital leaders have to find common ground between providers and patients on what’s effective health IT. 

Personal-health-informationStudies have shown that patients view health IT as an important tool they expect their doctors to provide. And hospitals are implementing health IT devices and software in the hopes of improving operations and patient engagement with their health.

But despite this common interest in expanding health IT, a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research highlights where those opinions diverge from one another.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 healthcare professional and 1,000 patients about various health IT topics, including:

  • electronic health records (EHRs)
  • data collection and analysis
  • cost and price transparency
  • physical exams and imaging
  • privacy, and
  • using technology to self-diagnose symptoms.

Areas they agreed on

Overall, patients were more supportive than providers of using health IT in their day-to-day lives for self-diagnosis.

Although researchers found 40% of patients were likely to approve using technology for self-diagnosis compared to just 14% of providers, there were exceptions for things like remote symptom data collection.

Patients and providers generally agreed on topics, like using smartphones to monitor heart rate data and using genetic testing in disease prevention.

Similarly, they saw eye-to-eye on issues like privacy and price transparency.

In fact, nearly 42% of patients and 35% of providers had privacy and security concerns, which made them hesitant about using health IT.

And half of respondents from both groups said they bring up the price of procedures during visits. Ninety percent of both groups agreed patients have a right to treatment cost transparency from their local hospital, as well as other facilities in the area.

Split over EHRs

The biggest topic providers and patients were split on was giving patients access to EHRs.

Although both groups agreed patients should have access to their diagnostic test and lab results, most providers felt letting patients read their notes is a bad idea. Sixty-three percent of providers said patients should have complete access to visit notes, compared to almost 90% of consumers.

Ninety-three percent said giving patients that access would cause anxiety and unnecessary evaluation requests. Most patients felt that wouldn’t be an issue. However, the majority of patients felt the access could lead to improved health management between visits.

Additionally, patients and providers were split on which group “owned” the medical record. About 43% of providers said the health organization owned patients’ medical records, and 53% of patients agreed. Twenty-five percent of the respondents said they weren’t sure.

These kinds of discrepancies between providers and patients could cause tension as facilities continue to open their EHRs to patients. Facilities may want to address these issues by counseling patients on what to expect when reading EHRs, or using tools like secure messaging to touch base when they have questions on something in the notes.

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