In a new PriceWaterhouseCoopers report on hospitals' implementation of electronic health records, the consulting firm found that providers need patient feedback on EHRs for meaningful use steps to be successful.
The Health Research Institute
PriceWaterhouseCoopers has released a new report called "Putting
Into 'Meaningful Use'" that says hospitals need to take steps to
incorporate patient feedback for meaningful use implementation to be
PwC's Health Research Institute provides analysis on various issues affecting the health care industry.
HHS (the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) announced
Stage 2 standards for meaningful use in January 2011 requiring
allow 80 percent of patients to access their EHRs within 36 hours of
discharge from the facility. In addition, at least 20 percent of
patients must be allowed
access to EHRs, including test results. The Stage 2 requirements take
effect in October 2012. HHS is currently seeking public
on the Stage 2 requirements.
In the survey
for which PwC announced results on Feb. 23, the firm interviewed 1,000
and 3,000 health care executives in the fall of 2010 about stage 2
meaningful use requirements. PwC was interested in consumer feedback on
health reform and
how they would use health care.
The patient could be considered "forgotten" as a user of EHRs,
according to Bruce Henderson, director and national leader of PwC's
Of consumers PwC interviewed, 13 percent of consumers said their
doctors or hospital had not asked for their input about EHRs, though 56
percent of them were willing to talk to their doctor about them and
learn how to use the technology.
"I think you can't start engaging and communicating with patients soon enough," Henderson
told eWEEK. "It's going to contribute to a much higher level of adoption by the patient."
Health care professionals need to engage patients on their
expectations for EHRs if hospitals are going to get a better return on
investment as far as meaningful use of health records, Henderson said.
When patients are engaged in the process of EHR adoption, they'll
believe that their health care is working better for them, he said.
Despite the federal push for adoption of electronic records, only 14
percent of consumers surveyed are accessing EHRs from doctor's offices,
with 30 percent not seeing a need to do so, PwC reports.
Although patients are consulting with those with similar conditions
online, they're still mostly turning to doctors offline, according
to a recent report
by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
In its survey, PwC also found that barriers to electronic access as well as social and educational barriers have led to a gap in
expectations as far as what patients and physicians want out of EHRs.
Physicians believed 45 days was a reasonable amount of time to make
test results available electronically, but patients expected access to
this information within 30 minutes, PwC reports.
A fragmented health care industry, including the way applications
are configured, contributes to this gap in time, according to
"Our industry is very highly fragmented, so in addition to the need for electronic health records, there's an equal need for the
ability to move that data across our fragmented industry into a single location, into a single patient record," he said.
"The expectation is driven by wanting to make better, faster
decisions for diagnosis and treatment, better in the context that I
have a better,
more complete picture available to me than I've ever had before,"
For hospitals to improve the amount of patient engagement regarding
meaningful use of EHR platforms, organizations could allow patients
to use iPads at the point of care, Henderson suggested.
The workflow of a doctor's office also needs to change from the
paper chart days, with a nurse practitioner helping doctors navigate
next steps, he said. "When two parties enter the exam room together,
they'll have a bidirectional purpose for an exchange," he explained.
"They'll accomplish so much more and probably faster than in the past."