Xerox Study Examines How Millennials, Boomers View EHRs

Nearly 60 percent of those who don't use portals would be much more interested in their own health care if they had online access to their medical records.

xerox and EHRs

Many Americans are open to getting medical records online if given instructions on how to obtain access by their medical providers, according to a survey, conducted by Harris and sponsored by Xerox, of 2,017 U.S. adults and their views on electronic health records (EHRs).

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents said they do not currently use online patient portals, but more than half of those who don't use portals (57 percent) said they would be much more interested and proactive in their personal health care if they had online access to their medical records.

As a mobile generation, Millennials are more likely to report the highest preference in accessing patient portals on the go (43 percent on smartphones), and they are more interested in their medical records (57 percent) than any other content on online patient portals.

"Mobile has the ability to make a big impact on patient experience and outcomes, so we definitely expect this to play a bigger role in consumer health IT in the future," Tamara St. Claire, chief innovation officer of commercial health care at Xerox, told eWEEK. "Moreover, it will be critical to meeting the needs of Millennials, who were the most likely to report a preference in accessing patient portals on their smartphones."

This group also wants to be able to view personalized recommendations to improve their health (44 percent), information about additional services from their doctors (44 percent) and industry news about health topics of interest to them (23 percent).

Survey results suggest that health care providers could make strides toward meeting MU Stage 2 requirements and improving care by focusing on the portal needs of Millennials (ages 18 to 34 in this survey) and Baby Boomers (ages 55-plus in this survey).

Two of every three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions, and treatment for this population accounts for 66 percent of the country's health care budget, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Xerox survey indicated many Boomers who do not use portals said they would be much more engaged in their care if they received access to medical information online (56 percent of those ages 55 to 64, and 46 percent of those ages 65 or older).

Meanwhile, Boomers ages 55 to 64 accounted for the highest percentage (83 percent) of those who said they already do or would communicate with health care providers through a patient portal.

In that same group, 70 percent said they do or would schedule appointments, 64 percent access or review medical records or test results, 60 percent ask their physicians questions, 58 percent order prescription refills and 40 percent request a referral.