Most of us (90%) would like be able to make a doctor’s appointment and check lab results online, but that doesn’t mean we’re confident navigating our health alone. In fact, 85% of us want the option of being able to talk to our physician face-to-face.
This convenience-connection dynamic was uncovered in a 2012 study conducted by Accenture called “Is healthcare self-service online enough to satisfy patients?” The short answer is no. In part because of preference and in part because of education. Below are some of the highlights.
We want more health care convenience:
One barrier to finding the right balance is even knowing what’s available. Doctors aren’t necessarily showing patients the way to these types of services – even when they are available.
According to the study, nearly half of patients (46%) are not even aware if their health records are available electronically. Another third (33%) did not know whether their doctor offered e-services such as bill pay, electronic reminders and lab results them online.
As interesting as the study was, so were the responses, including this indictment of developers by former hospital exec Steve Wilkins over at @kevinmd’s blog. He calls the promise of most health information technology and apps unfilled – largely because designers and developers of tools don’t understand the way both patients and physicians use these interactions. His top three things he wishes we all knew better:
- From the get go, health and health care delivery has been about the relationships between people starting with the physician-patient relationship.
- The most important diagnostic tool a physician has at their disposal is not a smart phone, but their ability to talk with and observe patients verbal and non-verbal behavior.
- “Talk” is not only how physicians diagnose problems and recommend the appropriate treatments. Talk is also how patients are able to engage in the health care. Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of talk (and touch) during the medical exam is the therapeutic benefits patients derive from being able to express heart-felt fears and concerns to someone who hopefully cares.