|The Health Record Review
by Jeff Rowe, Editor
Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - 10:27 am
Americans are keeping track of a range of health indicators. But they’re not necessarily making optimal use of IT to do it.
That sums up a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
For healthcare stakeholders, the good news is that “seven in ten (69%) U.S. adults track a health indicator for themselves or a loved one and many say this activity has changed their overall approach to health.”
That figure broken down includes:
· 60% of U.S. adults say they track their weight, diet, or exercise routine.
· 33% of U.S. adults track health indicators or symptoms, like blood pressure, blood sugar, headaches, or sleep patterns.
· 12% of U.S. adults track health indicators or symptoms for a loved one.
Another matter, however, is what they actually do with the figures they collect. As the survey summary puts it, “their tracking is often informal.”
Specifically, the survey found:
· 49% of trackers say they keep track of progress “in their heads.”
· 34% say they track the data on paper, like in a notebook or journal.
· 21% say they use some form of technology to track their health data, such as a spreadsheet, website, app, or device.
Of course, there is at best an indirect connection between indicator tracking and the increasing role of EHRs, but it seems safe to say the connection matters nonetheless.
For example, the survey found that “thirty-four percent of trackers say they share their records or notes with another person or group, either online or offline. Of those, half (52%) share with a clinician.
“Not surprisingly, trackers who do not take formal notes are less likely than others to say they update their records on a regular basis or to share their progress with someone else.”
In other words, those who track “formally” are more likely to be the “engaged patients” that health IT advocates increasingly view as key to the long-term success of the health IT transition.
The full results of the survey can be found here.