Deloitte: Patients Want Electronic Health Records

Survey says many would pay for the service from doctors and clinics.

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There should be no doubt that that Google, Microsoft, and others are on to something with their efforts to enable electronic health records, according to a survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The center reports that 3 of 4 consumers want their doctors to provide online access to an integrated medical record and that 1 in 4 would pay more for the service.

More than 70 percent of consumers want their hospitals to provide online access to their medical records and test results. Again, 1 in 4 would pay more for the service.

And nearly half of consumers would be willing to use a software program or website to create a personal health record of the sort envisioned by Google, Microsoft, Revolution Health, and others.

A key to success, says Paul Keckley, the Deloitte center's executive director, is to keep physicians at the middle of any electronic record-keeping. Doctors want to be a coach of sorts for consumers in managing their healthcare, Keckley says, "and the consumer wants the physician to be the coach."

But doctors are likely to resist the push to electronic records, which they may view as threatening their role. The issue illustrates a broader disconnect between what doctors do with technology to help their patients and what consumers want them to do, Keckley says.