News & Commentary

Patients believe there’s more interoperability than actually exists


Ninety-seven percent of patients think it is important for any health organization anywhere to have access to their full medical history, according to an online survey conducted by Transcend Insights, a subsidiary of Humana. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. Prior studies—one in JAMA in 2011, the other by the American Hospital Association in 2015—show that interoperability falls far short of patient hopes. The JAMA study is about specialist–primary care communication in general, not necessarily via electronic means. The study found that only 34.8% of specialists obtain data about a patient by the primary care physician doing the referring, even when the primary care physician tries to share that information. That’s the case even though 69.3% of primary care physicians reported “always” or “most of the time,” sending “notification of a patient’s history and reason for consultation to a specialist.” The AHA study, which is about interoperability, found that only a quarter of hospitals can exchange data in a functional way.

What patients think their health care providers offer

Source: Transcend Insights, “Patient Expectations of Medical Information Sharing & Personalized Healthcare,” February 2017

The Transcend Insights survey was conducted in January. The respondents were 2,597 adults in the United States who have seen a doctor within the last year.