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Patients want info in one place

Health data and patients’ electronic access to their own health information are real, personal issues, not just the stuff of health IT government and vendor debate.

Some 94% of respondents in a new nationwide survey of 1,000 patients sponsored by Surescripts, the national pharmacy IT network, said their medical information and records should be stored electronically in a single location, particularly for planned doctor appointments.

Look at a slideshow on the report here.

Also, 55% of those surveyed think health data sharing could both save lives and reduce healthcare costs over the next decade, the study, conducted with the Kelton Global research firm, found.

The Surescripts annual Connected Care and the Patient Experience survey came up with quite a few seemingly counter-intuitive findings, among them that Americans would like to share more general information about their health.

Most of the surveyed patients (77%) said they’d be willing to share their physiological health information. Another 69% reported they’d share their health insurance information. And 51% even indicated they’d share behavioral and mental health records.

These findings are somewhat surprising because recent big health data breaches have purportedly made many people skittish about sharing their personal information. In reality, sharing that stuff can usually get you better care, even in the behavioral and mental health realms, many patient activists and forward-looking clinicians say.

In the meantime, Surescripts, which is known, among other things, for its electronic prescribing systems, is – likely not coincidentally – promoting the National Record Locator Service health data sharing system it launched earlier in 2016.

The service has 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, according to a Dec. 14, 2016 Surescripts release.

The survey’s most notable insights, the release said, are that patients:

  • “Overwhelmingly want their medical information electronically stored in a central location and easily accessed and shared
  • Are increasingly dissatisfied with the amount of time and effort they’re spending on recounting medical information and waiting in doctors’ offices or pharmacies
  • Increasingly prefer and expect new and innovative ways to receive care and get prescriptions.”

Other interesting, and totally understandable, findings:

Fifty percent of the survey group agreed that renewing a driver’s license would require less paperwork than seeing a physician for the first time, and 57% said they would be just as likely to be frustrated filling out paperwork at a doctor’s office as they would be buying a new car.