Health IT

Survey: Most people are aware of EHR benefit but Health Info Exhanges, notsomuch

Pennsylvanians have a pretty sophisticated grasp of their right to their electronic medical records. When it comes to the state’s health information exchange, the level of awareness for goals such as reducing duplicate lab tests is relatively low, even though they recognized the its importance. Good thing the purpose of the survey was to develop […]

Pennsylvanians have a pretty sophisticated grasp of their right to their electronic medical records. When it comes to the state’s health information exchange, the level of awareness for goals such as reducing duplicate lab tests is relatively low, even though they recognized the its importance. Good thing the purpose of the survey was to develop a targeted marketing campaign to raise awareness of the state’s regional exchanges and the drive to connect them.

The state’s eHealth Partnership Authority commissioned the survey to get a better read of what the level of understanding is EHR and HIE to help shape the campaign. About 50 percent or less of respondents said they were aware that health information exchanges could help physicians to access their records from other parts of the state, coordinate care with other providers and improve quality of care for patients.

States have been setting up state and regional health information exchanges to help hospitals satisfy Meaningful Use provisions outlined in the HITECH Act to improve patient safety by making their records more accessible by different providers and by patients too.

It’s not at all surprising that less than half of the 1,144 people polled were aware of the point of health information exchanges. The majority of respondents were aged 34-56.The contract to connect the state’s 11 regional health information exchanges was only awarded a few months ago and it will take some time to set up.

There were also some interesting findings on electronic medical records. About 88 percent said they were aware they are entitled to ask physicians for a copy of their electronic medical records. Some 70 percent said their physicians used EHR. Yet, only 28 percent said their physician provides them with access to them and another 42 percent said physicians did not give them access.

There was some disappointing news for health IT companies who think mobile apps are the way to educate people on healthcare issues.  When asked how likely they were to use mobile applications to assist in learning about healthcare issues, more than 50 percent said that they would never use mobile applications to do this.Instead they rely on physicians, friends and family and, to a less extent, the Internet. Younger people, on the other hand, were more inclined to use social media, Internet and apps.

[Photo from Flickr user Brianswan]