EMRs Boost Patient Satisfaction, Loyalty

Posted on August 9, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Doctors may be bringing EMRs into their practices to get Meaningful Use payments, but it seems that their efforts will pay off in patient satisfaction as well.

According to a new study by independent research firms Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners, almost 50 percent of patients take EMR access into account when they consider choosing a  healthcare provider.

Fifty two percent of patients surveyed said that while t hey aren’t currently using EMRs, they’re interested in doing so. Another 24 percent are already using EMRs to check test results, order prescription refills and make appointments.

Consumers who prefer their doctor to use an EMR listed several reasons, including access to medical records (40 percent), accuracy of record keeping (18 percent) and quality of care (17 percent). On top of that, 39 percent of respondents said that EMRs are more accurate than paper charts.

What makes this data particularly interesting is that patents who have used an EMR are significantly more satisfied with their doctors overall (78 percent versus 68 percent). What’s more, patients who use EMRs reported higher satisfaction scores across many specific care attributes, including ease of access to information and clarity and thoroughness of communication, the researchers concluded.

Also, patients who use EMRs said that they felt they received a better quality of care (82 percent).

Providers, there you have it.  EMRs have filtered into the public consciousness so thoroughly that consumers are actually beginning to see them as a must-have when choosing a doctor. And more than that, almost three quarters of patients want access to the records, most likely through a user-friendly portal.

I’d call this good news. If practices are going to have to roll out an EMR anyway, it’s nice to know that patients will be excited about it, no?