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Survey Examines Patient Portal Use

Findings suggest that patient portals and other technologies are not meeting the needs of all patients

Despite health care providers’ widespread adoption of web-based patient portals, about one-third of consumers report they have never used one to view their medical records, according to a recent survey conducted by DrFirst. Also, 41% of survey participants say they did not receive all the records they requested from their health care provider.

DrFirst’s findings are consistent with a 2017 report from Health and Human Services, which found that less than one-third of patients viewed an online medical record at least once in the past year. According to participants in the DrFirst survey, consumers gave the following reasons for not using patient portals to access their information:

Additional survey findings support the conclusion that current solutions are not providing patients and their families with satisfactory options for accessing and maintaining health records electronically. Only 59% of consumers say they’ve always been successful getting their requested medical records, either electronically or on paper. Just 19% report always being able to obtain documents in a digital format, while 81% report receiving records as a combination of paper and digital. Furthermore, among consumers that have received health records electronically, almost one-third of them print and keep a paper version rather than storing the documents on a computer or online.

Retrieving medical records is also crucial for people who are providing care for family members, which includes children and the elderly. More than 40 million people in the United States provide unpaid care to their adult children or aging parents, according to a report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. The report notes that two-thirds (63%) of these caregivers are communicating with health care professionals on behalf of the care recipients.

“Today’s solutions are not meeting the needs of many consumers and the family members they take care of,” says G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst. “People need options that are easier to use, such as secure mobile apps, to keep track of their medical information, and to be fully engaged in their health care.”

— Source: DrFirst