Helping Patients Plug In: Lessons in the Adoption of Online Consumer Tools

Joshua Seidman and Ted Eytan

Surveys suggest that three out of four patients want some sort of online connection with their medical providers. This report examines how patient-oriented HIT is evolving by looking at clinical settings in five regions, including California.

June 2008

Surveys suggest that three out of four patients would like to have some sort of electronic connection with their medical providers, such as the ability to make appointments via the web, view test results, or email doctors. However, a significant disparity remains between what patients want to do online and what they are able or allowed to do.

To better understand the role of patient-centered health information technology (PCHIT) in clinical care, the authors of this report examined five types of medical practice settings in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia; interviewed physicians, patients, and others; and reviewed the relevant literature. They also looked at PCHIT from a regional perspective to learn about recent developments.

While the report finds that an increasing number of health care providers are adopting technologies that place patients at the center of care, it also concludes that technical, strategic, and financial hurdles are stifling further progress. Until these can be overcome, the goal of harnessing the full potential of personal health records (PHRs) and tools to engage patients will remain elusive.

The full report is available under Document Downloads.