If you're a physician looking to attract new patients, you may want to think hard about buying an electronic medical record (EMR) system. Most consumers said EMR technology plays a role in their selection of a physician, according to a survey of 600 consumers and 100 physicians by Accenture, a consulting company.
Highlights of their study:
* 51% of consumers said they would be willing to pay for the service if the price was reasonable.
* Two-thirds said that an electronic health record (EHR) was at least slightly important in their physician choice, with 24% saying it was very important. Another 24% said it was moderately important.
* 77 percent of consumers said they would have greater access to and more control over their medical records if they were in electronic form. Other benefits of electronic records cited by consumers included the capacity to confirm information provided by a doctor and the ability to ask physicians better questions.
* Only 10 percent of doctors said they had electronic health record technology.
* 86 percent of doctors cited the cost of implementing and/or maintaining the system as a concern. Physicians also worried about the time it would take to implement a program and potential privacy risks for patient information.
* 90 percent of doctors said electronic medical records would make sharing and obtaining information easy. Other positives noted by physicians included more comprehensive patient information and fewer lost records.