In its annual survey on the use of electronic health records, Xerox found many Americans are open to getting medical records online if given instruction on how to obtain access by their medical providers, but two-thirds have yet to do so.

The survey was conducted online in September by Harris Poll among 2,017 U.S. adults and found a majority of Americans (64 percent) do not currently use online patient portals. However, more than half of those who don’t use portals (57 percent) say they would be much more interested and proactive in their personal healthcare if they had online access to their medical records.

About a third of patients said simple knowledge of portals was lacking—among those who do not use patient portals, 35 percent did not know a portal was available and 31 percent said their physician had never spoken to them about portals. Among Americans who do use online patient portals, 59 percent say they have been much more interested and proactive in their personal healthcare since they received access.

Xerox executives said the survey results suggest that healthcare providers could make strides toward meeting Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements and improving care by focusing on the portal needs of Millennials (ages 18 to 34 in this survey) and Baby Boomers (ages 55+ in this survey).

“With providers facing regulatory changes, mounting costs, and patients who increasingly seek access to more information, our survey points to an opportunity to address issues by simply opening dialogue with patients about patient portals,” said Tamara St. Claire, chief innovation officer of commercial healthcare for Xerox. “Educating patients will empower them to participate more fully in their own care while helping providers demonstrate that electronic health records are being used in a meaningful way.”

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