Friday, March 2, 2007

Health Technology Surveys

THCB has a post about a Cisco-sponsored study of Internet use in health care by patients (press release).

Three things stood out for me as being very interesting:

First of all, 11% of respondents said they had used the Internet to evaluate a physician. 11% doesn't sound like very much, but it's 11% compared to 0% not too long ago, when patients had nowhere to go to perform the same kind of evaluations, and the number is growing.

As I mentioned in a recent presentation to the Institute for the Advancement of Health Care Management, this may or may not be a good thing, with increasing self-diagnosis and patients turning up at the doctor's office with armfuls of misinformation, but that's a different problem...

Secondly and thirdly, two questions were asked about how patients thought electronic medical records (EMR) would benefit them.

When asked to choose between being able to control who has access to their EMR or having an EMR available to all medics, 68% chose controlling access. Then, when asked whether they preferred easy access to their EMR over protected privacy, 73% chose privacy as their desired outcome.


Another survey out is the American Hospital Association's findings of its 2006 survey of community hospitals and their involvement with health information technology. Of the more than 1,500 respondents, 68% had worked on adding electronic health records programs during the year and nearly half reported a moderate or high use of HIT.

However, reading page 17 - which looks at who the hospitals are sharing information with - we see physician offices, public health departments, other hospitals, labs, the list goes on.

You know who's missing?


This underscores my belief that HIEs around the country that are currently more concerned with keeping tight, internal ownership of patient records need to understand that patients will demand control over their data, exactly the same way they currently control and have ownership of banking and credit data.

Oddly, when Cisco asked who the patients would prefer to receive such services from, HIE/RHIO type organisations were not included as a possible response, which is a shame because (a) most people don't know they're being formed and (b) have even less idea how much power these HIEs will wield over their personal and highly sensitive data.

These decisions are being made right now and I don't know that the patient population is being adequately involved.


Disclosures and Disclaimers


My employer is compensated through funding to provide analytical research, technology solutions, and Web-based public and private health care performance reports by the State of New York, the State of Illinois, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Commonwealth Fund and Bridges to Excellence. I am not being compensated by any of these organisations to create articles for or make edits to this Web site or any other medium; and all posts authored by me are as an individual and do not represent my employer or the agencies I work for.