Healthcare consumers are familiar with and trust cloud technology, yet nearly one in three still can not easily access their medical records, according to a report recently released from Ambra Health, based in New York.
According to the survey of more than 1,100 healthcare consumers, 97% across all age and gender demographics are familiar with cloud technology, yet 31% can not easily access their medical records and only half of those can access medical records online via their healthcare provider. When it comes to moving diagnostic data like x-ray, CT, and MRI from one provider to another, 57% still use CDs, and it takes 44% of patients a day or more to move these medical images. According to Ambra Health, the findings show a gap in the expectations of today’s empowered patient versus the services being offered by healthcare providers.
The wide-ranging report offers new insight on how healthcare consumers are using technology to manage their health. Online scheduling, virtual care, and medical image sharing showed some division by gender, as well as age group.
“We’re entering the age of empowered healthcare consumers taking a more active role in managing their health through technology,” says Morris Panner, CEO of Ambra Health. “A key differentiator for healthcare providers will be their ability to offer modern, convenient services that patients are accustomed to from other consumer applications.”
Patients are not holding back healthcare’s move to the cloud, with 77% of respondents trusting cloud technology, or not concerned by it. The younger the patient, the more likely they are to trust the cloud, with an approximately 30-point swing in millennials (74%) vs. boomers (44%). A gender gap emerged, with men trusting the cloud more than women (66% vs. 52%), although both had low levels of distrust.
Referrals are still the primary way for patients to find a provider, with 72% indicating this as a top choice over their health insurance network, word of mouth, or online research. Less than a decade ago, online search was rarely used for finding healthcare providers, but today 42% of respondents now conduct research online when selecting a provider. Two-thirds, regardless of age and gender, said online scheduling is key to patient engagement. The younger the patient is, the more relevant this becomes with 80% of millennials citing ease of medical record access and scheduling as a key consideration, while only 52% of boomers cite this as important.
Healthcare consumers have made the shift to online— but they are still looking for more from their providers as 31% can not easily access their medical records. Of those that can, only 50% stated they do this through online access offered by their provider. Compared to record-keeping of other important items, 74% of today’s healthcare consumers reported keeping good or very good records on their vehicle versus only 62% on the health of their dependents. data is still CD-centric and manual with only 17% being able to easily access or share medical imaging online.