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March 6, 2017

Patients expect more from data sharing than what is possible

There is a gap between patients’ expectations of what is possible in the area of medical information sharing and the limitations the health care industry still faces. That concludes a recent survey from Transcend Insights.

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According to the population health management company a vast majority of patients (97 percent) believe it is important for any health institution, regardless of type or location, to have access to their full medical history in order to receive high-quality care.  They also believe this should be possible in tihs digital age we live in.

Patients also rated factors the deem most important to receiving personalized care. Top priorities include having access to their own medical records (92 percent) and the ability for care providers to easily share and receive important information about their medical history—wherever they needed treatment (93 percent).  

Significant gap

The survey suggests a significant gap between the level of information sharing that patients expect and what is possible today, Trancend Insight writes. While the health care industry has undergone rapid digitization in the last decade, effectively sharing medical information and communicating across many different health care information technology systems — often referred to as interoperability —has remained elusive.
 
The survey points to a recent interoperability study conducted by the American Hospital Association, stating only a quarter of all hospitals are able to functionally exchange (find, send, receive and use) clinical information with external providers. Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found only 34.8 percent of specialists receive information about a patient from their referring primary care physician (PCP), even when the PCP attempts to share patient records. In other words, data is not traveling with patients despite the importance that they place on open access to their information.

 “As an industry, the time has come to move beyond viewing interoperability as a philosophical challenge or a problem that we’ll eventually get our arms around,” said Thomas J. Van Gilder, MD, JD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Informatics and Analytics at Transcend Insights. “This survey shows us that patients see strong information sharing as an essential element of high-quality care. It’s time that we live up to those expectations by giving care providers and health care systems the tools they need to stay connected around patient care.”
 

Benefit of doubt

The survey does suggests that patients may give their care providers the benefit of the doubt  concerning data sharing and the ability of their medical records to travel with them. When respondents were asked whether or not their doctors could easily share and access important information about their medical history – whenever or wherever they needed care—72 percent of patients believed that this is in fact happening. Unfortunately, due to ongoing setbacks in connecting the sprawling health care system, this type of open access to records is rare.  
 
Other key findings in the survey:
 

  • 64 percent of patients say they use a digital device (including mobile apps) to manage their health and 71 percent believe it would be helpful for their doctor to have access to this information as part of their medical history.
  • Patients are more likely to trust the health care they receive from a medical professional when he or she has access to their full medical history (38 percent versus 27 percent).
  • A majority of patients surveyed believed that provider access to their full medical history is important to receiving high-quality care with 87 percent of respondents indicating that PCP access, in particular, is extremely or very important to receiving high-quality care.  

About the survey and Trancend Insights

Transcend Insights conducted an online survey among U.S. adults who have seen a doctor within the past year. Fieldwork was conducted by Research Now between January 20 and January 26, 2017. A total of 2,597 responses to the survey were collected. Transcend Insights is a population health management company that is empowering lifelong well-being with The Platform Above. It’s partners leverage Transcend Insights’ enterprise solutions to analyze more than 7 billion clinical data points on 14.2 million patients every day.

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