It seems a critical stakeholder in EMR adoption, patients, has drunk the Kool-Aid. Accenture surveyed (press release) 519 health care consumers (aren't we all health care consumers?) over
the Internet who had seen a general practitioner or medical specialist
in the past 10 years. No other respondent demographics are provided. In
a summary of findings, consumers believe that EMR adoption can:

  • improve the quality of care (93 percent of respondents),
  • reduce the number of treatment errors in hospitals (92 percent of respondents),
  • lower health care costs overall (75 percent of respondents), and
  • reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms (78 percent of respondents).

There were also questions about the frequency of emergency room visits while away from home (75%), and fears of being rendered unconscious
in an accident and unable to report vital information to emergency
personnel (65%). A majority (52%) is even willing to pay $5 monthly to
store their medical records in electronic form.

Benefits seem to outweigh fears, as 54% expressed concerns about
privacy and security; 55% felt electronic records would be more secure
than paper.

“Our research indicates that consumers have become
aware of the potential benefits of electronic medical records, and we
believe this shift creates opportunities for health providers and
health plans to take steps toward implementing electronic medical
record systems,” said Lewis Redd, a partner in Accenture’s Health &
Life Sciences practice. “This awareness is relatively new, and we see
the potential for an environment where consumers will begin to exert
more influence over the speed at which these systems are adopted across
the health care arena.”

Just coincidentally, this is good news for Accenture, who stands to make millions helping hospitals implement EMRs.