Most Patients Want to Self-Manage Healthcare

Monday, July 9th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Most Americans want to manage their healthcare information electronically, but not at the expense of losing face time with their doctors.

At least that’s what the results of a new survey from Accenture Health show: a hefty 90 percent of patients prefer to monitor their medical information, refill prescriptions and book appointments online via e-mail, Web sites, and mobile devices.

Not only aren’t the majority of Americans willing to sacrifice personal interactions with their physicians, but they aren’t sure how they want their records managed. And a third admitted that they didn’t know if they could access electronic tools like ‘bill pay.’ More results from this survey inside this week’s issue.

Closer management is also key to a new tool from the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, designed to improve patient handoffs. Data shows that an estimated 80 percent of serious medical errors result from miscommunication between caregivers when patients are transitioned from one facility to another. In addition to patient harm, defective handoffs can lead to delays in treatment, inappropriate treatment, and increased length of stay in the hospital. This new tool, which monitors current organizational handoff processes and provides proven solutions, has been effective in reducing readmissions and hospitalization time, and increasing patient, family and staff satisfaction.

Managing costs is at issue in a new global survey from Towers Watson, showing that the cost of providing employee medical benefits is rising at double-digit levels everywhere in the world but Europe, which is anticipating only single-digit increases. The survey goes on to state the reasons for these increases, and avenues that medical insurers are taking to contain their costs, including implementing wellness programs and health promotion strategies.

And young adults are letting their parents manage their healthcare coverage. According to a new study from Indiana University economists, children ages 19 to 25 are taking advantage of the ACA ruling that private insurance policies offer to cover dependents’ children up to age 26. The report goes on to cite other findings, including the gender, marital status and ethnicity of children being covered; details in this week’s issue of Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

And how do you manage your asthmatic population? Asthma accounted for nearly half a million hospitalizations in 2009 and nearly 2 million ED visits; the estimated total cost of asthma in the United States in 2007 amounted to $56 billion. Describe your organization’s efforts to manage what is one of the most common, lifelong chronic diseases by July 27, 2012 and you’ll receive a free e-summary of our survey results once it is compiled.

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