This report from Dell details the findings of surveys conducted in the fall of 2010 with 150 hospital executives and over 300 recent hospital patients regarding the future of health care, including the use of health information technology.  Caveat: the report does not provide a description of the sampling methods or the potential margins of error in the survey.

The hospital executives surveyed by Dell expressed a great deal of anxiety about both health care reform and the implementation of health information technology.  Only 37% had a favorable view of the national health care reform law.

On the other hand, a significant majority – 83% – have either completely or partially selected the electronic medical record technology that will qualify for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services incentive payments, with another 15% planning to do so. 21% of the hospital executives surveyed responded that their hospitals have begun to electronically share medical records with their patients, with another 62% actively planning to do so.  However, 85% were concerned about the costs of implementing health information technology, 79% were concerned about being able to train clinicians and hospital staff to utilize the technology, and 78% were concerned about the ability to effectively exchange health information through a health information exchange.

Meanwhile, the hospital executives surveyed are responding to the national health care reform law by positioning themselves to be prepared for new payment models, especially accountable care organizations.  23% of the hospital executives responded that they have already invested in creating accountable care organizations, with another 56% responding that they are planning to do so.

On the other hand, 68% of patients surveyed classify themselves as not knowledgeable about health care reform but 55% have a favorable view of the law.  However, only a third of the patients surveyed expect health care reform to improve coordination of care, improve quality, or reduce overall spending.

In terms of health information technology, 74% of the patients surveyed already use online resources to learn about health issues, 43% use a home health and wellness monitoring device (like a blood pressure tester or glucose monitor) and 31% share information electronically with their physician or hospital.  Three-quarters of the patients surveyed want electronic health records to be shared between their physician, hospital and laboratory, want electronic prescription processing, and want more information electronically, such as access to discharge and follow-up care instructions after a hospital stay.  71% want email access to their doctor.  64% want to use new technologies that would enable their physician to remotely monitor their wellness from home devices and 62% want more telemedicine capabilities so that they can meet with their physician to discuss health issues over the Internet or telephone.  61% want access to their personal health records through an Internet portal or private website.

Finally, while only 37% of the patients surveyed are somewhat or very concerned about their electronic health records being shared between physicians, 69% are concerned about their health data being safely and securely stored, 66% are concerned about their health data being transmitted over the internet and 60% are concerned about hospitals and providers adhering to privacy laws.  46% are concerned about their health data being compared to others to determine effectiveness of treatments.

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