Most People Use Online Research for Primary Care

John Commins, October 11, 2017

Despite increased use of online resources to inform health decisions, a new survey shows that the 75% of registered voters are not using emerging healthcare innovations such as online health records and e-prescription services.

Nearly 60% of people use online health resources such as WebMD as a substitute for primary care, according to a new survey from the University of Phoenix.

"The healthcare industry is shifting to a patient-centered model that harnesses technology to both open communication channels and create a platform for patient engagement," said Doris Savron, executive dean for the College of Health Professions at University of Phoenix. "Given this shift, it is crucial that patients not only have access to these technologies, but also view them as important resources for improving their health and overall care experience."

Additionally:

  • 48% of the 2,201 registered voters who responded to the online poll said the rising cost of insurance would be the biggest challenge facing the healthcare industry in the next five years, with 77% of respondents indicating that prescription drug coverage and monthly premium costs were very important when selecting healthcare coverage.
     
  • Only 25% of respondents who have access to health technology use resources such as e-prescription filing services (26%), online health records (25%) and online appointment booking services (15%).
     
  • Patients have strong feelings about the qualities that clinicians should have in traditional care settings. The vast majority of Americans find it “very important” for their treatment teams to have interpersonal skills, including listening (84%), verbal communication (83%) and bedside care (71%).

"The data shows that technology is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to patient care," Savron said. "Although new technologies are resources that we should lean on to help improve communication, interpersonal skills are the foundation for ensuring patient trust and better care."

The survey was taken in mid-August and has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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