Consumers are taking notice of electronic medical records (EMR). More and more patients expect online EMR access, and they are willing to switch doctors for that access. According a recent global survey, 41 percent of patients would switch doctors to gain online access.
Accenture conducted a survey with over 9,000 people, covering nine different countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.  According to their research, about a third of U.S. consumers (36 percent) currently have full access to their EMR, and more than half (57 percent) have taken ownership of their record by self-tracking their personal health information, including their health history (37 percent), physical activity (34 percent) and health indicators (33 percent), such as blood pressure and weight.
The increasing role of patients in their own healthcare tracking has changed the perception of of EMR among consumers. “The rise of Meaningful Use mandates and a growing trend of self-care among consumers is shifting the role of an EMR from a mere clinical repository to a platform for shared decision-making among consumers and doctors,” said Kaveh Safavi M.D., J.D., managing director of Accenture’s North America health business. This means patients are taking more and more initiative in self-managing their own care.
This growing interest in self-managing has created some tensions between physicians and doctors. While 84 percent of consumers would like full access to their EMR records only 36 percent of doctors share the same belief. Most doctors (64%) believe patients should have limited access to their records.
Safavi believes this shift in consumer participation has great potential for long-term health care. “When consumers are part of the record-keeping process, it can increase their understanding of conditions, improve motivation and serve as a clear differentiator for clinical care,” added Safavi.
Photo by hhaswell (via Creative Commons permission).
 “More than Forty Percent of U.S. Consumers Willing to Switch Physicians to Gain Online Access to Electronic Medical Records, According to Accenture Survey.” Accenture, September 16, 2013 <http://newsroom.accenture.com/news/more-than-40-percent-of-us-consumers-willing-to-switch-physicians-to-gain-online-access-to-electronic-medical-records-according-to-accenture-survey.htm>