December 13, 2016

Why Isn’t the Healthcare Consumer Experience as Easy as Online Banking?

If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Why doesn’t my doctor have my health records?” or, “Why do I have to fill out the same forms at the doctor’s office every time?” or “Why isn’t my prescription ready at the pharmacy?”

It’s 2016. While we’re still waiting for our self-driving cars, new technology like personal drones, smart watches and virtual reality keep raising the bar for innovation and connectivity in daily life. So it’s no surprise that patients expect their health data to be digitized, securely stored in one place and electronically accessed with ease—anytime, anywhere. Since patients today are more active healthcare consumers, they expect a consumer-friendly experience.

Even though the technology exists and is available to store and share patient data, the norm is lagging behind—often with data still being shared via paper, phone or fax—creating a healthcare consumer experience that is less than ideal. Essentially, patients feel they are spending too much time filling out paperwork or verbally recounting their medical history.

Each year, Surescripts conducts a survey of more than 1,000 American patients. The recently published report, Connected Care and the Patient Experience details their responses and provides a look into their biggest complaints and expectations for change. Here are some of these insights.

Patients overwhelmingly want their medical information centrally stored and shared electronically. Patients want easy access to their health data for themselves, their loved ones and their care providers. They expect the same flexibility, reliability and convenience as they experience every day with online banking.

Patients are increasingly unhappy with the current state of health data access and sharing. Wasted time and effort caused by poor data access means that patients are waiting longer when they visit the doctor, even spending more time this year than last on paperwork and reciting medical history.

Patients increasingly prefer new and innovative care settings like telehealth to meet their needs. Patients are ready and willing to adopt new, more convenient care delivery modes like telehealth. In fact, patients expect most doctor’s visits to be remote in the near future.

Here are some examples of technology that will enhance efficiency and quality while lowering cost—ultimately removing the factors that undermine the healthcare consumer experience.

Surescripts e-prescribing capabilities and CompleEPA® for electronic prior authorization are designed to automate inefficient and unreliable manual processes, making health data available where and when it’s needed most.

Surescripts Medication History for Reconciliation may have saved hospitals more than $400 million and prevented more than 25,000 readmissions and 15,000 adverse drug events in 2015. This speaks directly to the fact that 9 in 10 patients feel that their doctors would be less likely to prescribe them the wrong medication if they had their complete health information, and that lives are at stake when they don’t.

And since launching this year, Surescripts National Record Locator Service (NRLS) received more than 4.5 million requests for patient locations and returned more than 890,000 locations of care summaries, including more than 15 million visit locations for care delivered by 109,000 providers.

Consumers will continue to demand advancements from every aspect of the healthcare system. Whether it’s convenience, cost or safety, they want to know they’re receiving the best possible care. While patients today are largely unsatisfied with many aspects of their care experience, we at Surescripts see only opportunities—opportunities to empower providers with the information they need to do their jobs, opportunities for patients and providers to engage with each other more meaningfully to maintain and improve health, and ultimately, opportunities to keep patients safe.

See what patients had to say. Check out the full report: 2016 Connected Care and the Patient Experience.

Be sure to follow @Surescripts on Twitter and join the conversation using #HITprogress. Like us on Facebook and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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