CSC (NYSE: CSC) today launched the results of an independent research project on Australians’ views of electronic health (e-health) records. CSC’s report, A Rising Tide of Expectations, found consumers are ready and waiting for the government to deliver an individual e-health record – what they see as a basic Australian right.
In March 2010, CSC commissioned an independent, national Newspoll phone survey of 1208 Australian consumers to understand how important they believe it is to have an individual e-health record. The results showed that 96 percent of Australians in favour of e-health records believe that common medical data should be stored on a shared electronic record, despite only 46 percent being aware of the proposed introduction of e-health records.
The report also found that almost 90 percent of participants actively make an effort to improve and maintain their health already while 86 percent personally keep a record of some type of medical information. Ninety-one percent of participants want to see their healthcare data in one place. Ironically, Australians also feel they are effectively maintaining or improving their health despite increasing rates of chronic disease and obesity.
An additional insight gained by CSC’s research is that Australians want individual e-health records, as long as they do not have to pay for them.
Eighty-eight percent of Australians felt that it was either the Federal or State governments’ responsibility to contribute financially to the cost of individual e-health records.
The CSC report found that 27 percent of respondents are willing to pay on average almost $50 annually for an individual e-health record. However, a startling 70 percent of Australians are not willing to pay anything.
An unexpected finding was that in addition to Federal and/or State government funding, 63 percent of Australians regard private health insurers as also having some responsibility for financially contributing to the costs for e-health records. This is despite the fact that less than half of Australians have private insurance.
“Consumers now expect e-health records and expect the basic foundations to be funded as part of the health system, primarily, and convincingly, by governments, with contributions from others such as health insurers,” said Lisa Pettigrew, director of health services for CSC in Australia.
The research also found Australians want to be able to exercise control over their e-health records, specifically what data is stored and who has access to it. Results indicated that among Australians who are in favour of an individual e-health record, there is significant consensus on what data should be included in such a record. Further, 89 percent want the ability to select which healthcare providers view their information.
Australians are ready and waiting for an e-health record as long as they can choose who has access to the information that they elect to include in their health record.
In response to why CSC commissioned the independent research, Pettigrew explained, “E-health records are a core enabling platform for a modern, sustainable health sector. It is time for Australia to engage in a comprehensive discussion on what this means - for consumers, for patients and carers, for healthcare providers and for government. Part of this discussion must include a better articulated consumer voice. There is a rising tide of expectation and frustration that we and our doctors do not yet have basic online access to our full health record information.”
Pettigrew further said, “The recent Federal Government budget announcements about funding of $467 million for the start of e-health records is timely, and if spent on appropriate activities, will be an important investment for national health infrastructure. Based on CSC’s global experience in healthcare, a logical next step for the Australian Government would be to define a pragmatic plan for rapidly developing basic e-health records for patients and consumers to access which also delivers benefits to clinicians in terms of access to the right information about their patients at the right time.”
CSC is the world’s largest health systems integrator and has helped many governments implement national and regional e-health record programs. Through this investment in research and a related program with clinicians, CSC seeks to promote and contribute to a mature and informed national dialogue about e-health and to understand the perspectives of consumers and clinicians.
The CSC research report, A Rising Tide of Expectations, is accessible at www.csc.com.au/health.
The respondents were randomly selected and a quota was set for capital cities and non-capital areas. Within each of these areas, a quota was set for groups of statistical division to reflect the overall population distribution.