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Patients want eHealth option but not at expense of seeing doctors

And email more important to patients than mobile phone-only reminders

Most US patients want to be able to take advantage of eHealth options that would allow a certain degree of online health self-service, according to a new study.

Accenture found most demand for access to personal medical information, appointments and prescription refill services, but the consultants also reported a similarly high level of patients still want the option to see a doctor in person.

“Patients increasingly want access to their personal medical information, anytime, anywhere,” said Kaveh Safavi, who leads Accenture's North America health industry group. “But they're not willing to give up the option of face time with their physicians.”

Accenture's online Connected Health Pulse Survey involved 1,110 US patients between March 30 and April 4, 2012 questioning them on their preferred channels of electronic health information and services.

The survey found 90 per cent of patients want to self-manage their healthcare, with 86 per cent wanting online access to their health records. At the same time 85 per cent also want to preserve their in-person interactions with doctors when needed.

Accenture US online patient self-mangement study

View larger version of patient information image

The survey also looked at how patients prefer to use mobile devices, the internet and email for accessing and managing several key aspects of their own healthcare, and its key findings included:

• The majority of respondents (88 per cent) want to receive email reminders when it is time for preventative or follow-up care and three quarters (76 per cent) want the option of email consultations with doctors

• A smaller proportion, though still a sizable majority, of patients surveyed (73 per cent) would prefer to use a mobile device for requesting prescription refills.

Despite the survey's respondents already being online, nearly half of them (46 per cent) didn't know if their health records were available electronically, even though 86 per cent said they would like online access to them.

The survey also found divergent views on who should manage patients' medical information, with 48 per cent saying it should remain the duty of their doctors while 44 per cent would prefer to be able manage their own information.

In Europe the UK is one of the countries at the forefront of eHealth developments and plans to give patients online access to their records via a new website called My Health. Patients will also be able to book medical appointments via the web within the next three years.

Meanwhile, at a European level the European Commission has set up an eHealth network to help drive technological innovations such as tele-monitoring and e-prescriptions, and improve the safety and efficiency of patient care. 

4th July 2012

From: Marketing

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