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Tag: Will Saunders

Five Reasons Americans Should Want Electronic Health Records

Although healthcare providers are making progress in adopting health IT, Americans seem to be resistant to change to Electronic Health Records (EHRs). In fact, only 26 percent of Americans want their medical records to be digital, according to findings from the third annual EHR online survey of 2,147 U.S. adults, conducted for Xerox by Harris Interactive in May 2012.

Last month the Institute of Medicine issued a seminal report entitled “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health in America.” The report estimates the American healthcare system suffered a $750 billion loss in 2009 from inefficient services and administrative expenditures. The report is grounded on the principle that effective, real-time insights for providers and patients which result in collaborative and efficient care depend on the adoption and use of digital records.

As people are naturally resistant to change, education will be key in gaining support among Americans for the transition to EHRs. If providers can help patients understand “what’s in it for me,” that will likely go a long way in making Americans feel more comfortable with the switch to digital.

Let’s take a look at five ways EHRs directly impact the patient. For these examples, we’ll use a fictitious patient named “Joe”:

  • Health Information Exchanges (HIE): HIEs work on the principle of a network – they grow stronger as more participants join. If Joe’s primary care doctor switches to digital, that’s a great step in the right direction. However, it isn’t truly meaningful until his primary care doctor joins an HIE and begins sharing Joe’s patient health history, medication history, lab results, family and social history and vital statistics with his specialists, emergency care providers, and so on. This sharing of information helps ensure that Joe gets the best quality of care, because all of his providers will be in sync and have the most up-to-date information. It also helps reduce the amount of duplicate exams and labs Joe will be asked to give.
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Priorities for States as Plans for HIXs Move Forward

Many states are in a dash to finalize plans for a Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) following last month’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The scramble poses several questions – are Americans ready to participate in exchanges, and will states have enough vendor support to meet the deadlines?

Survey Shows HIX Knowledge Gap among Americans

A recent survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Xerox asked if they were in need of health insurance, would they consider purchasing it through a HIX. Nearly half (46 percent) were not sure. Another 25 percent said they would not consider using an HIX, while 29 percent said yes.

This is interesting as HIXs are designed to create a more consumer-friendly experience, where people can shop and compare when choosing a health plan, much like Expedia.com finds the best travel fare. However, as consumers are reporting a hesitancy around participating in HIXs, there appears to be a disconnect between the consumer-friendly intent and the knowledge people have of the type of experience and benefits an HIX will bring. While it’s common for people to be unfamiliar with the benefits of new technology until they use it, there is a need for states to quickly fill the knowledge gap around exchanges to show consumers they will deliver the desired experience.

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