Patients who access their medical records electronically through online portals are more satisfied with their doctors and more loyal than non-electronic health record users, according to a new study released by research and consulting firm Aeffect and strategic communications agency 88 Brand Partners.
For the study, 1,000 consumers, ages 25 to 55, were surveyed. The authors found that patients who used a portal to perform tasks like scheduling appointments and viewing lab results were more satisfied with their care than non-users (78 percent vs. 68 percent). They also were more loyal to their physicians (73 percent vs. 61 percent). The happy users said that EHR use improved communication with their providers, helped with care coordination and boosted confidence about care received.
The study also found that 13 percent of respondents were regular users; one-fourth (24 percent) had accessed their EHR at least once.
More than half of respondents (52 percent) were "interested non-users" in that they currently didn't access their records electronically, but were curious and willing to do so. Only 18 percent said they were not interested in accessing their EHRs. The study also found that younger consumers and those with children were more likely to access their records electronically.
Patient engagement is one of the most important facets of Stages 2 and 3 of Meaningful Use. ONC has issued tools to providers to help them interact with their patients electronically. Previous studies have shown that EHRs can improve patient-provider communication, and that patients want access to their EHR data.