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Patients are losing patience. Every day, thousands of people try to call their doctors to request medical appointments, ask clinician questions, renew prescriptions and receive important information. The Intuit Health Patient Engagement Study, conducted in April, found 95% of doctors want their patients to fill out medical and registration forms online before their appointment. When patients were asked about filling out forms and the registration process, 81% said they’d like to move that task online too. Intuit surveyed 556 practices across the United States in April.

Unfortunately, many of them hang up after long hold times and need information more urgently than the traditional mail can deliver. To improve office efficiency, answer patient demand and increase patient satisfaction and engagement, doctors and patients alike are saying it’s time they took advantage of easy-to-use technology and move their relationship online.

The study also found that nearly one in four healthcare providers who do not offer an online communication solution feels it is difficult for patients to reach them to ask questions, make appointments or receive lab results. Nearly half also reported their practices are running 30-60 minutes behind schedule. Meanwhile, one-third of providers say their staff spends three or more hours each day trying to reach patients to communicate follow-up information.

The study also found that 98% of providers believe their bills clearly tell the patient whom to pay. Conversely, one-fifth of patients surveyed say they have no idea where to send their medical payments.

In addition to improving the overall patient experience, the survey showed that qualifying for incentive dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Electronic Health Record Stimulus is also driving adoption of EHR and portal solutions. Sixty-seven percent of providers say they plan to offer a patient portal, communication or EHR solutions in the next 12 months to provide patients with access to health records and clinical information, appointment scheduling and prescription refills.

Last modified on Monday, 10 June 2013
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