Upward Trend of Consumer Use of EHRs; Slower Trend of Meaningful Use Attestation

A study of consumer digital health trends reports 56 million U.S. consumers have accessed their medical information stored on an electronic health record (EHR) system, while 26 percent of U.S. adults have used their mobile phones to access health information in the past year.

The Cybercitizen Health U.S. 2011 study by Manhattan Research surveyed nearly 9,000 U.S. consumers in Q3 2011 about their digital health habits and found an additional 41 million users are interested in accessing EHR systems.

However, 141 million have reported not accessing their medical records via EHR systems, consisting of mainly an older, less educated and less technologically-inclined demographic. This group is less likely to use the Internet or have smartphones or tablets.

Mobile Phone EHR/EMR Use Increases

Yet over a quarter of U.S. adults used mobile phones for health information or tools last year, doubling from 12 percent in 2010. Eight percent of consumers have used prescription drug refill or reminder services on their cell phones, compared to only 3 percent in 2010. The growing use of technology to access health records shows a strong need to meet HIPAA compliance, the standardized security and privacy regulations designed to protect health data.

Medical Graduates Show Favorable EHR/EMR Use

The rapidly growing trend of a younger population using technology more aptly and for health-related tasks is not only consumer-based – new healthcare industry graduates are using EHR/EMRs during medical residence training and are highly motivated to continue to do so.

A 2010 National Physician Survey from Canada reported 79 percent of medical residents had used or been exposed to electronic medical records to collect or access patient clinical notes during training.

In addition, 82 percent of family medicine residents and 75 percent of residents in other specialties expect to use EMRs for clinical notes instead of paper when they enter into practice. As the CanadianEMR.ca blog predicts, there may be a high likelihood that current practices won’t be able to attract new graduates for employment unless they have an EMR in place.

EMR Experience and Expectations

EMR Experience and Expectations

Current Meaningful Use Attestation Lagging      

By contrast, current healthcare organizations and individual providers have been slower when it comes to meeting meaningful use attestation standards. Although a total of 114644 are registered in an EHR system, only 8303 actually meet meaningful use standards and qualify for federal incentives.

A recent report from Frost & Sullivan, U.S. Hospital EHR Market, 2009-2016, shows that total EHR market revenues are expected to peak at $6.5 billion in 2012 due to new licensing and upgrades to hospital systems. This is a significant increase since 2009, when the EHR market earned revenues were at $973.2 million.

But with the trend of both healthcare consumers and young health industry graduates showing strong use and inclination toward EHR/EMRs, it’s predicted the rest of the established practices will need to play catch up in order to stay in the game.

Sources:

56 Million U.S. Consumers Access Medical Information From Electronic Health Records
New Graduates Highly Motivated to Use EMRs
Accepting the Inevitable, U.S. Hospitals Significantly Ramp up Use of Electronic Health Records, Finds Frost & Sullivan

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