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SOURCE Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority (Authority) released results of a statewide consumer survey conducted earlier this year around public perceptions of health information exchange in Pennsylvania.
The survey findings will help the Authority develop outreach and education programs to increase awareness among healthcare consumers about the value and benefits of health information exchange.
"As the healthcare industry transitions to a new, outcomes-based model, giving providers and patients information when and where they need it to make the best decisions around care, will ultimately improve healthcare outcomes," said Alix Goss, PA Health IT Coordinator.
"Secure exchange of healthcare information can also improve community health status and help to lower overall costs. Our survey results will help us target various segments of the consumer population to focus attention on the benefits and value of information exchange."
Findings showed a generally high level of importance placed by consumers on issues included in the survey. Levels ranged from 71% of consumers who believe that the ability of electronic medical records (EMR) to allow patient online access to medical records is somewhat or very important, to 90% who believe that the state and federal policy protections in place for electronic health records are somewhat or very important.
The survey revealed, however, that awareness is much less pervasive for most of the issues addressed in the survey. For example, fewer than half of those surveyed were aware of the several potential benefits of HIE described in the survey. Only 28% of all consumers were aware of current efforts to develop standards for HIE. Awareness regarding the implementation of EMR was better than awareness of HIE issues, but again, most consumers were unaware of the potential benefits of electronic health records. This is true even though the clear majority of responders consider those benefits to be important, and despite the fact that 71% of survey respondents stated that their physician uses an EMR.
All responses were analyzed for statistically significant trends or differences with regard to five demographic factors: gender, age, race, income, and education.
Gender was not a significant factor for any survey question, while race and income were only occasionally differentiating factors. Differences were frequently identified based on age and education.
In many cases awareness improved as level of education increased. Perceived importance also appeared to increase as level of education increased, but the effect was less pronounced and less frequently statistically significant than differences in awareness.
The survey revealed that physicians are the single most important channel to educate consumers regarding health care issues, though Internet, TV and Radio, Newspapers and Magazines (in descending order) remain important communications vehicles.
Fewer than half of all respondents rely on their insurers to learn about healthcare issues with any regularity. Mobile applications and social media also showed relatively little use for healthcare issues learning, but these channels are significantly more important to younger people.
The complete report can be found at www.paehealth.com.
For more information about the PA eHealth Partnership Authority, go to www.paehealth.com.
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