A recent Accenture survey found that more than 40 percent of patients would be willing to switch to a different doctor so that they can have access to their electronic medical records (EHR).
Currently 36 percent of those surveyed have full access to their Electronic Medical Record (EMR), while 41 percent would switch physicians and practices to gain online access to their own EHR. Experts believe that this demand for access to patients’ own records is directly related to the government-mandated standards of Meaningful Use.
“The rise of Meaningful Use mandates a growing trend of self-care among consumers,” said Kaveh Safavi MD., JD, Managing Director at Accenture North America. “The shifting the role of an EMR [has gone] from mere clinical storage to a platform for shared decision-making among consumers and doctors,” Safavi said.
Meaningful Use is defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a way to use EHR technology to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities; to engage patients; to improve care coordination and public health, and to maintain privacy and security of patient health information.
The CMS offers the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to manage the use of electronic health records, and encourage doctors and hospitals to earn EHR funding incentives by meeting the provided criteria and adopting an electronic system for keeping patient’s records. And while a monetary incentive is motivating, practices that don’t conform by 2015 may be penalized.
Beyond being a government mandate, employing an EHR may become necessary to keep patients satisfied and returning. With more than 40 percent of patients surveyed saying that they are willing to switch to a doctor who will provide access to medical records.
Does your practice have an EHR?
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