An important health policy question is, what would it take for consumers to become effective and informed captains of their health and health care? When patients are more actively involved in their health care better overall outcomes can be achieved.
In recent research findings by the Health IT.gov, when patients have the ability to engage with their doctors electronically, the outcome is better communication and care as well as lowered costs. The use of electronic health records can be a huge factor in achieving better results.
Since 2013 there has been a tremendous growth in the percent of hospitals that provide patients the ability to electronically view, download and transmit healthcare information. Some of the key findings of this study:
- In 2015, 7 out of 10 (69%) of hospitals provided their patients with the ability to view, download, and transmit their health information electronically.
- In 2015, more than three quarters of hospitals (77%) enabled patients to request an amendment to their health data, and offered patients the ability to electronically pay their bills (74%).
- Over one-third of hospitals (37%) enabled patients to submit patient-generated data in 2015; this has grown almost 3-fold since 2013.
- In 2015, 4 out of 10 hospitals allowed patients to request prescription refills (42%), schedule appointments online (44%), or submit their data electronically (37%)
- Between 2014 and 2015, the percent of hospitals offering patients the ability to electronically send or receive secure messages increased by almost one-quarter (24%).
Controlling costs and achieving health care quality improvements require the participation of activated and informed consumers and patients. The use and availability of electronic records and data sharing can enhance overall patient engagement. Patient engagement is one strategy to achieve the goals of improved health outcomes, better patient care, and lowered costs.
Source: ONC Data Brief 38 | September, 2016 http://dashboard.healthit.gov/evaluations/data-briefs/hospitals-patient-engagement-electronic-capabilities-2015.php