New Study shows EMR Adoption Increases Patient Confidence, Loyalty and Satisfaction

Independent research firms Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,000 Americans ages 25-55 in December 2012. The respondents were patients who had some form of health insurance, had seen a physician within the previous three years, and had a regular doctor. The survey consisted of 40 questions on topics related to electronic medical records. The results were published in an August report titled, “EMR Patient Impact Study” and show patients who see doctors who use EMRs are more satisfied and feel more loyalty toward their physician.

Survey Shows EMR Benefits

The survey found 23% of respondents were already using an EMR, and 52% were interested in the technology. Patients who were already using an EMR reported a 78% satisfaction rate with their physician, compared with only 68% who did not use an EMR. 82% of patients felt they receive better quality of care thanks to their EMR. Users also said they felt they received easier access to their health information, and engaged in clearer and more responsive exchange of information with their physician. As a result, patients felt stronger loyalty toward their doctor.

Michael McGuire, Director of Strategy at 88 Brand Partners stated, “The business of health care is dependent upon meeting patients’ expectations.  EMR users are telling us that they are more confident in the coordination of care they’re being provided, and think more highly of their doctors, simply because of the information technology in use.”

Types of EMR Users

The study found patients with access to an EMR fell into four categories:

  • Disinterested Non-Users (18%): These patients said they did not need access to their health care information outside the doctor’s office, and believed EMR reports were no more accurate than paper charts.
  • Interested Non-Users (52%): These patients had the lowest satisfaction scores, but are highly influenced by the physician encouraging them to use the EMR.
  • Trial Users (9%). This group has the highest percentage of women and non-white patients. One-third of these patients started using an EMR within the past six months.
  • Regular Users (13%): These users prefer emailing their doctor, and 67% say online access was an important factor in choosing a new doctor. One-third of Regular Users are taking care of an adult family member. They use their EMR through the web, or through a mobile device. The most popular usage is setting appointments and making decisions about their family member’s health.

 

The Cost of Keeping the Status Quo

While EMR adoption among physicians has risen from 26% in 2010 to 38% in 2012, some health care providers are hesitant to adopt the new technology. Practices that do not adopt an EMR will face government penalties in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid payouts if they do not adopt a certified EMR by 2015.

Aeffect Vice President Tamara O’Shaughnessy had a warning for health care providers that are dragging their feet. “There is solid evidence that the investment providers continue to make in EMR systems is likely to put adopters at a competitive advantage and yield dividends beyond the expected operational efficiencies-namely it will enhance patient loyalty and satisfaction”.

The Growing Practice

Practices looking to increase patient satisfaction will benefit from the implementation and use of EMR systems.  With the anticipated increase of 32 million patients seeking practices that can utilize their EMR for patient communications and involvement will be in a better position to attract new patients that want to be active in their health care conversation.

ZH OpenEMR provides the capability to engage and communicate with patients using the ZH Healthcare Patient Portal.  The portal allows patients to request appointments, send questions, renew prescriptions, and make payments on their accounts.    Providers can provide answers, request demographic data and updates, and provide medical information for referrals and consultations. These capabilities streamline business processes allowing the practice staff to concentrate on quality care and increase the loyalty and satisfaction patients have for their providers.

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