If I can access my bank account and manage my finances online, why can’t I take similar ownership of my healthcare?
For today’s digitally empowered consumers, it’s a fair question. And in fact, more than 80 percent of the over 9,000 adults polled by Accenture in a recent nine-nation survey affirmed that they would like to be able to access their medical records online.
An overwhelming majority also favored more self-management. Fully 82 percent said they would value the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online, for example. Three-quarters (76 percent) wanted to receive electronic reminders about preventive or follow-up care. More than 70 percent felt they should be able to update their own electronic health records with such important information as the side effects experienced with different medicines. And 76 percent of respondents to our global survey said they should have full access to their electronic health records.
But right now, few consumers enjoy such services. Slightly less than a quarter of adults in our nine survey countries have electronic access to their medical records, for example. And only 37 percent can book appointments online. In some jurisdictions, the gap between what consumers demand and what healthcare providers are prepared to give them is especially wide. In France, for example, only 25 percent have some level of access to their electronic health records.
Why do so many healthcare providers seem to be on the wrong side of the digital debate? For one thing, some doctors tell us they fear that they will be spending too much of their valuable time online with their newly empowered patients, reducing productivity and adding to costs. Clinicians also have understandable concerns about data privacy and patient safety.