The majority of patients would like to have digital services from their physicians such as online appointment scheduling, bill paying, and access to lab results, yet only about one primary care physician in three offers such customer service.
That is the finding of a new survey from TechnologyAdvice, a Nashville-based company that provides independent review and analysis of enterprise technology products.
Primary care physicians are reporting some of the highest rates of EHR adoption to comply with government regulations and to receive incentives from Meaningful Use, but a significantly lower number of patients claim to have access to these patient portal services, said TechnologyAdvice Managing Editor Cameron Graham, who authored the survey. The issue here may not be implementation of digital services, but instead a lack of patient awareness. If physicians are offering these in-demand digital services, a more proactive approach to promoting them is needed and could create an advantage in attracting and retaining patients.
Sixty percent of patients surveyed said digital services like online appointment scheduling and online bill pay are either important or somewhat important when choosing a physician. However, when asked what services their current physician provides, less than one-third of patients indicated they have access to either online bill pay, online appointment scheduling, or the ability to view test results and diagnoses online, which are the top three services that patients report wanting the most.
In addition, 68.6 percent of respondents said it was either somewhat important or very important that a physician follow up with them, yet only 30 percent of respondents reported receiving a follow-up that wasnt related to bill pay.
Patient age also appears to influence what services are expected from physicians. Notably, every digital service listed on the survey was in greater demand among younger respondents. For example, 41.2 percent of patients between the ages of 25-34 said they would like their physician to offer online appointment scheduling, while just 13.5 percent of respondents over 65 said the same. The results also showed that 48.4 percent of the youngest respondents (18-24 year olds) would like to use a smartphone app to schedule online appointments.
The full report is available here (registration required).
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