Majority of Consumers Believe Electronic Medical Records Can Improve Medical Care, Accenture Survey Finds
93% Support Emergency Room Doctors Having Access to Electronic Records to Reduce Treatment Errors
NEW YORK; July 20, 2005 – A majority of U.S. consumers believe that electronic medical records can provide valuable benefits, especially during medical emergencies, and can improve overall medical care, according to the results of a survey released today by Accenture.
The survey, which queried more than 500 U.S. health care consumers, found that the overwhelming majority of respondents believe that electronic medical records can:
- improve the quality of care (93 percent of respondents),
- reduce the number of treatment errors in hospitals (92 percent of respondents),
- lower health care costs overall (75 percent of respondents), and
- reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms (78 percent of respondents).
Three-quarters (75 percent) of consumers surveyed said they have visited an emergency room and/or required medical attention while away from home, and about two-thirds (65 percent) said they are concerned that they might be rendered unconscious in an accident and unable to report vital information to emergency personnel. In addition, 93 percent of consumers said they would support emergency room doctors having access to their electronic medical records if it could reduce the number of treatment errors in hospitals.
“Our research indicates that consumers have become aware of the potential benefits of electronic medical records, and we believe this shift creates opportunities for health providers and health plans to take steps toward implementing electronic medical record systems,” said Lewis Redd, a partner in Accenture’s Health & Life Sciences practice. “This awareness is relatively new, and we see the potential for an environment where consumers will begin to exert more influence over the speed at which these systems are adopted across the health care arena.”
The survey also found that privacy and cost issues related to electronic medical records are not as great of a concern to consumers as others might believe. For instance, while more than half (54 percent) of respondents said they are concerned about the privacy and security of their paper records, about the same number (55 percent) said they believe that electronic records are more secure than paper. In addition, more than half (52 percent) of survey respondents said they are willing to pay at least $5 per month to have their medical records stored in an electronic format.
The research report queried 519 U.S. consumers who had seen a general practitioner or medical specialist in the past 10 years to ascertain their beliefs and concerns regarding implementing electronic medical records. The Web-based survey was fielded in March 2005.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 115,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$13.67 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2004. Its home page is www.accenture.com.