Patients who have used electronic medical records are significantly more satisfied with their doctors overall, according to a new study.

According to a study released Monday by Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners, patients also express higher satisfaction across multiple specific dimensions of care, such as ease of access to information and clarity and thoroughness of communication.

Patients who use EMRs also believe they receive better quality of care (82 percent), the study found. EMR users believe they engage in clearer and more responsive communications with their physicians, and can gain access to information easier than non-EMR users.

An estimated 24 percent of Americans surveyed are currently using EMRs to check their test results, order prescription refills and make appointments. Yet another 52 percent say they are interested in using EMRs but currently are not accessing these systems for a variety of reasons, the study found.

With almost 50 percent of patients taking EMR access into consideration when choosing a healthcare provider, the effective use of EMRs by providers is critical, according to the study.

“The study findings clearly indicate a strong link between EMR users and their confidence in the quality of healthcare they receive,” said Tamara O’Shaughnessy, vice president of Aeffect, in a news release. “There is solid evidence that the investment providers continue to make in EMR systems is likely to put adopters at a competitive advantage and yield dividends beyond the expected operational efficiencies – namely it will enhance patient loyalty and satisfaction,” O’Shaughnessy added.

“The study provides healthcare providers with valuable insight into not only who is using EMR but why they are adopting the technology,” said Michael McGuire, director of strategy, 88 Brand Partners, in a news release. “The business of healthcare is dependent upon meeting patients’ expectations. EMR users are telling us that they are more confident in the coordination of care they’re being provided, and think more highly of their doctors, simply because of the information technology in use.”

Other study highlights include:

  • Consumers who prefer their doctor to use an electronic chart cited numerous reasons including: access to medical records (40 percent); accuracy/better record keeping at 18 percent; and coordination of care and information sharing at 17 percent.
  • EMR utilization is higher among consumers who are younger, live in the Western part of the U.S. have higher levels of education and provide care to an adult family member. An estimated 34 percent of residents in Western states report having tried an EMR.
  • Consumers do not believe that paper charts are more secure than EMRs, with 28 percent agreeing. However, nearly 40 percent believe that electronic medical records are more accurate than paper charts.

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