Patients want better access to health info News added by Benefits Pro on May 9, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Kathryn Mayer

Despite concerns about putting it all out there — online, that is — patients say it’s important for them to have access to all of their health care information, an Accenture survey has found.

Those with chronic conditions — asthma, arthritis, cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and osteoporosis — were even less concerned than healthy patients about the privacy of electronic medical records than they were about other personal information that is stored digitally, such as online banking, in-store credit card use and online shopping.

Overall, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of those surveyed believe patients should have the right to access all of their health care information.

Perhaps more importantly, the survey’s findings suggest that patients are increasingly frustrated with the lack of accessibility to health information.

The vast majority (87 percent) of U.S. consumers said they want to control their health data, but 55 percent said they have little or no control over their medical information.

“Health care will need to adapt to a new generation of individuals who are taking a more proactive role in managing their health and expect to have transparency,” said Dr. Kaveh Safavi, who leads Accenture’s global health business.

Additionally, the survey findings also suggest that, depending on the type of chronic illness they have, there are differences in a patient’s ability to exercise control over his or her health care data. For example, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers with heart disease reported having some level of control compared to only 49 percent of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Accenture surveyed 2,011 individuals, 918 healthy and 1,093 with 11 chronic conditions.

“As consumers continue to demand more access to their personal data online, we expect that patients will gain more power to manage some aspects of their own care,” Safavi said. “This will not only make health care more effective but also more affordable, as consumers doing more for themselves will free up the system to be more productive.”

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