Patient Engagement Key to EMR Success

John Commins, February 24, 2011

Hospitals are spending billions of dollars to achieve meaningful use of electronic medical records, but if patients don't use the new technology,  hospitals may not reap the federal stimulus payments that await.

That's the conclusion of a report -- Putting Patients into Meaningful Use – from  PwC's Health Research Institute, which found that 14% of 1,000 consumers surveyed last fall said they get their medical records electronically from their physicians, and 30% of patients said they didn't know why they would need to.

Bruce Henderson, director and national leader of the EHR-HIE Practice at PwC says  hospitals need to build in patient input earlier in the process to comply with Stage 2 of meaningful use requirements.

"Successful use of electronic health information will ultimately be measured in better patient outcomes, higher quality and reduced costs," Henderson said. "Health systems need to have both patients and physicians actively using the health information to make care decisions, and they aren't there yet."

Henderson said providers must first understand what healthcare consumers want before they can be sold on the benefits of EMR. "Then, they need to build new, technology-enabled healthcare delivery processes around patient preferences and convenience, which means changing how clinicians work," he said.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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