News Feature | January 3, 2017

Patients Dissatisfied With How Their Healthcare Data Is Handled

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Patient Check-In Service

The vast majority of patients say they want their medical info stored electronically in one location.

Patients are dissatisfied with the way healthcare providers and insurers are dealing with their personal medical information and they want it stored electronically in a single location, according to the findings of a Surescripts survey.

For the recently published report, Connected Care and the Patient Experience, researchers polled more than 1,000 American adults who revealed they are tired of having to repeat the same information multiple times to providers at every visit — either verbally or on forms. They are frustrated by the lack of communication and believe they should not have to complete medical history forms for every visit.

An overwhelming majority (98 percent) of those polled said someone should have complete access to their medical records, while 93 percent feel doctors would save time if their patients’ medication history was in one location. Efficiency is definitely lacking, according to those surveyed.

But it’s not just a convenience factor. Nine in 10 patients believe their doctor would be less likely to prescribe the wrong medication if they had access to more complete patient information. Centralized access to information could help reduce medical errors. In fact, 90 percent of patients reported they think their lives could be at stake if their doctors do not have their complete medication history on hand.

The study also found patients are increasingly willing to share general information about their health in order to improve their care, with 77 percent saying they would share physical information, 51 percent would share mental health information, and 69 percent would share insurance information.

Risk enters the equation when the lack of a central electronic repository for health records forces patients to compile their own medical history, which might be incomplete or inaccurate.

The study concludes, “Patients are increasingly unhappy with the state of health data access and sharing, whether at the doctor’s office or the pharmacy.” In fact, patients say, it’s too much work. Over half (54 percent) say renewing a driver’s license requires less paperwork, while 37 percent say opening a bank account is less arduous and 32 percent said applying for a marriage license requires less paperwork.

Patients also want the prescription process automated, with 40 percent saying they are less likely to visit a physician who does not utilize e-prescribing. Lack of communication between doctors and pharmacies is also annoying: 35 percent of patients have been told at the pharmacy they need prior authorization for a prescription, 42 percent are surprised by the cost of their medication at the pharmacy, and 45 percent are frustrated by conversations regarding what insurance with cover at the pharmacy.

The takeaway is more patients are ready for new and innovative ways to receive care and to get their prescriptions. And while the technology to share patient health information currently exists, patient satisfaction continues to suffer because it is not being properly implanted at the point-of-care.