In 2011, healthcare executives, especially CIOs, will be on the frontline for what is expected to be a record year for health information technology (HIT) spending.
In particular, new requirements that hospitals and physicians achieve at least Stage 1 of the government's new "meaningful use" criteria for electronic health records will present new challenges in providing patients with electronic copies of their health records upon request, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the top health industry issues of 2011.
Of the consumers surveyed this year by PwC, only 14 percent said they accessed their records electronically, and nearly half (49 percent) called the doctor's office to request paper medical records. Among those who can access their EHRs, less than 50 percent are not able to access information such as lab tests or physician visit notes.
In 2011, providers will need to loosen their grip on medical information by soliciting consumer input on how they want to receive it. Up until now, only a few have, the PwC report says.
Only 13 percent of consumers surveyed by PwC said they had been asked to provide input into what they'd like to see in their EHRs. A majority of consumers who have EMRs said they use them only for their own information (54 percent), and only a third (34 percent) use them to share information among primary-care providers.