June 22, 2010
A recent study that surveyed over 2,000 U.S. adults proves that although health care IT is spreading rapidly among our nation’s physicians, the word is not reaching those that benefit the most from it – their patients. The Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found that nearly half of their respondents were not sure if their primary physician offered any electronic records or electronic prescribing systems.
Chairman of The Harris Poll, Humphrey Taylor, exclaims that “the general public only has a vague idea, only a very limited understanding, of what this is all about.” Even though the general public doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of how the constantly evolving health IT systems are affecting them, the study does show that they are in favor of them. Erin Stevenson, a digital health-care consultant in California, firmly believes that this lack of knowledge and slight skepticism will not impede these technologies from being implemented and efficiently used. He states that these technologies “make moving around a city, state, or changing doctors much easier.”
In general, the public is poised to gain the most from electronic prescriptions and medication records due to increased patient safety through various interaction alerts, and time and money savings by providing point-of-care insurance eligibility information.
Health care providers utilizing IT can benefit from spreading the word to their patients. A doctor’s use of electronic prescribing or EMR/EHR should be taken into consideration while a patient is choosing a doctor – so it is important to ask the right questions. If your practice has a website, its a great opportunity to let your patients, and potential patients know that your practice has adopted technology to improve patient safety. Stay tuned to DrFirst‘s upcoming posts to learn our ‘Top-5’ health IT questions that every patient should be asking their doctors!