Despite Progress, Nearly 1 In 3 Patients Cannot Easily Access Medical Records

Ambra Health Healthcare Consumer Report Major players in the technology space — including Apple, Amazon and Google — are starting to move into healthcare with the aim of using machine learning, Artificial intelligence and smart devices to radically transform how we manage our health, but is the industry ready?

We recently conducted a survey of over 1,100 U.S. adults on consumer healthcare behavior that showed the industry lagging on technology – with nearly 1 in 3 patients reporting they can not easily access their medical records.

What’s more, when it comes to moving diagnostic data like xray, CT and MRI from one provider to another, 57% still use CDs, and it takes 44% of patients a day or more to move these medical images. Timelines that won’t cut it when it comes to urgent care.

The findings, which you can explore in our latest study: Era of Change: Today’s Healthcare Consumers show a clear gap in the expectations of today’s empowered patient versus the services being offered by healthcare providers. Here are a few of the key highlights from study.

Patients Are More Comfortable Than Ever Using the Internet

Patients are not holding back healthcare’s move to the cloud with 77% of respondents trusting cloud technology, or not concerned by it. Not surprisingly, the younger the patient, the more likely they are to trust the cloud, with an approximately 30 point swing in millennials (74%) vs. boomer sentiment (44%).

Patients are therefore comfortable using the Internet in regards to their personal health. For example, although referrals are still a primary way for patients to a find a new physician, Internet research is beginning to play a huge role, with 42% of respondents citing that they conduct their own research online. Two-thirds, regardless of age and gender, said that online scheduling is also key to patient engagement. The younger the patient is, the more relevant this becomes with 80% of millennials citing ease of medical record access and scheduling as a key consideration.

And when it comes to virtual care, there is a significant age gap as 34% of 18-34 year olds reported receiving virtual care but only 3% among those aged 55+. By gender, men reported receiving virtual care more than women at 26% and 14% respectively.

How Providers Can Appeal to the New Healthcare Consumer

This provides a key opportunity for physicians to differentiate their practices by having items like an easy-to-navigate website, online appointment scheduling, and intuitive patient portals. Some providers have already made these initial steps, but few have completely satisfied another interest of patients – ease of access to all health information. With many keeping track of other important areas of their lives, like their finances or health insurance online, it’s only natural that personal health data would be the next step.

According to the survey, 31% of healthcare consumers today can not easily access their medical records. Compared to record-keeping of other important items, 74% of today’s healthcare consumers reported keeping good or very good records on their vehicle vs. only 62% on the health of their dependents!

Perhaps it’s time for healthcare to adopt the models of other tech leaders like Apple and Netflix who create family plans which allow for shared monitoring and organization of group data. This could prove invaluable for parents seeking to keep track of important health information for their children like vaccine records.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Now, when we say, health data, what exactly do we mean? Well, many patients are already keeping track of things like lab reports online. However, few are able to easily access radiology reports and imaging, with only 17% being able to easily access or share medical imaging online.

While radiologists have traditionally been the “doctor’s doctor,” many patients are becoming interested in seeing these reports and images themselves. In fact, 80% of respondents said they would like to have access to their imaging alongside their test results, implying the need for patient facing reports that can be easily understood.

Why is it important for patients to have access to their imaging? We’ll give two key examples. Centralized management of medical imaging and priors can minimize unnecessary radiation doses through redundant studies, which is critical for a patient that has moved around from one specialist to another. And waiting for imaging to arrive on CDs should be the last thing a patient needs to worry about when dealing with a serious health condition. If patients can easily access second opinion and clinical trial information online, they should be able to send imaging ahead of time allowing for the most productive conversation possible when they have their consultation.

Now what?

The study confirms that more than ever, empowered patients are acting as healthcare consumers; they are interested in taking an active role in shopping around for services, finding new providers through their own online research, and seeking easy access to health information- on the web, via their phones or even virtual care. The consumer demand is there, it’s now up to providers to continue to enhance services fit for 21st century healthcare.

You can access the full report on today’s healthcare consumer here, or join a webinar exploring the findings on September 28th at 2pm Eastern. Registration is free and available here.


Infographic: Today's Healthcare Consumer


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<a href="https://ambrahealth.com/hospitals-health-systems/despite-progress-nearly-1-in-3-patients-cannot-easily-access-medical-records" rel="canonical"><img src="https://ambrahealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/infographic-todays-healthcare-consumer-survey-results.png" style="width:100%;height:auto;" alt="Infographic: Today's Healthcare Consumer Survey Results"></a><p>This infographic was originally posted on <a href="https://ambrahealth.com/hospitals-health-systems/despite-progress-nearly-1-in-3-patients-cannot-easily-access-medical-records" rel="canonical">Ambra Health</a>, get the full results from <a href="https://insights.ambrahealth.com/era-of-change-todays-healthcare-consumer"><em>Era of Change: Today's Healthcare Consumer</em> here</a>.</p>


Morris Panner HIMSS

About Morris Panner

As CEO of Ambra, Morris Panner leads the company on its mission of delivering better care through better technology. Morris is an active voice in the cloud and enterprise software arena, focused on the services and healthcare verticals. He is a frequent contributor to business, healthcare, and technology publications. Before Ambra, Morris built and sold an industry-leading business-process software company, OpenAir, to NetSuite (NYSE:N). He once served as the US Embassy Resident Legal Advisor in Bogota, Colombia; and his first job ever was as a janitor at his old high school while on summer break from college. Both of these very different experiences taught him valuable lessons about the human condition, and make him cherish his time with family that much more. Morris has a BA from Yale University and a JD from Harvard University.

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