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Kaiser, Blues of Mass….health plans & consumers online

Kaiser Permanente put out a new survey updating one they did last year which says that more and more people are going online, and now a sizable minority had a preference for doctors using an EMR. (It’s not clear whether they’ll yet change a doctor based on that). It does seem that they’re more likely to expect it and want it from their health plan — 61% wanted EHR’s to come from their health plan. (Here’s the PDF of  of the survey, which has lots of extra information for you nerds). But here’s probably the key results

Q. If two doctors had exactly the same qualifications, but one used an electronic record system and the other did not, which ONE would you choose? (ROTATE) The doctor using an electronic record system 47%The doctor NOT using an electronic record system 29%Don’t know/Unsure (Volunteered) 22% Q If two health insurance companies had exactly the same qualifications, but one provided their members with access to an electronic record system and the other did not, which ONE would you choose? (ROTATE)

The one using an electronic record system 60%The one NOT using an electronic record system 25% Don’t know/Unsure (Volunteered) 14%

So Kaiser Permanente has not only created its own health record via its big Epic project, but it’s decided to at least pilot with Microsoft HealthVault. (See a little more and some controversy about that here). And some other health plans are starting to notice.

Today, the big news is that BCBS Massachusetts has decided that it too needs to dive into this. They’ve decided to make their consumers records interoperable with Google Health by the end of the year.

So are Kaiser and BCBS Mass outliers, or are they first trickle of a torrent?

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Aron Boros
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Aron Boros

I think the interesting thing out of the survey questions you report is not that lots of people like a doctor with more whistles and bells, but that a quarter or more actually prefer a doctor without an EHR. What does that mean?
I think HIT is a requirement for basically any quality/efficiency improvement effort anyone is talking about, but polls like this mean little to me.