Healthcare News & Insights

Patients want online tools to help manage their health care

Patients want to use electronic health information and self-service IT tools to help them manage their own care. And many providers offer those tools, but fail to communicate to patients that they are available. 

Nearly all patients want access to some type of online, interactive e-health tools, according to a recent survey conducted by Accenture, with 90% saying they want online information and educational resources to help them manage their conditions.

Also, among the 1,100 patients in the U.S. polled:

  • 88% want to receive email reminders when it’s time to schedule an appointment
  • 83% want to access their personal medical information online
  • 73% want the ability to request prescription refills using a smartphone, and
  • 72% want to book, change or cancel appointments through the web.

Though patients are eager to use digital tools to manage their healthcare, the survey also suggests doctors aren’t doing a very good job telling patients what e-health options are available. When asked what online tools they already had access to, 33% of patients said they didn’t know.

Doctors can use office visits to educate patients about their options. That will help make sure people are using the tools that are available and that the provider gets the most out of its health IT investments. Doctors can also ask patients what e-health tools they want to use so the organization can plan accordingly.

After all, those self-service tools won’t just keep patients happy — they also help providers reduce staff costs and promote better health by giving patients a greater role in their own care.

One thing doctors and administrators should keep in mind as they adopt more self-service health IT tools for patients: People are very reluctant to give up face-to-face time with their doctors. Most (85%) of the patients surveyed said it’s important to communicate with a doctor in person.

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