Health consumers are at least as keen to access their medical history online as they are to manage other aspects of their personal lives. Intuit, the people who brought Quicken to the market to help consumers manage their personal financial lives, are keen to do the same for health care. And they’ve got the survey data in The Intuit Health Second Annual Health Care Check Up to make their case for the online personal health information management market.

It is no surprise that the survey found that 70% of U.S. adults are concerned (very or somewhat) about managing their health care bills and finances (with roughly equal percentages of men and women). However, 8 in 10 people want easy access to their medical history via a secure online tool, and 73% (nearly 3 in 4 people) want online access to their doctor. As the chart illustrates, it’s not only Gen X and Gen Y younger patients who seek online access to physicians; it’s also Baby Boomers, 62% of whom seek secure online tools to communicate with physicians. Patients would be keen to use a variety of services available through an online portal; these services are shown in the second chart.

Among the most popular online services, in order of popularity, would be:

  • – Appointment scheduling (81%)
  • – Requesting prescription refills (68% – think of this as patient-centered e-prescribing)
  • – Accessing lab results (62%)
  • – Filling out medical forms (59%)
  • – Reviewing and paying bills online (53%), and
  • – Asking care-related and administrative questions (51%).

Intuit polled 1,000 U.S. adults online in January 2011.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Intuit’s survey demonstrates demand for health engagement, at least when it comes to self-administration of health care services. That people are keen to access lab test results speaks to health engagement of a more clinical sort — that is, knowing one’s numbers sooner rather than later. This is very encouraging data from this lens of health empowerment. This was in fact a data point learned by Kaiser Permanente in its launch of MyHealthManager, the plan’s online personal health record: one of the most popular applications early-on used by KP enrollees was accessing lab results.

Another aspect of health empowerment that the survey revealed is a consumer-patient’s willingness to ‘fire’ their doctor: in this case, to switch doctors if their current physician doesn’t offer secure online access to the kinds of services listed above. As the chart shows, over one-in-two patients would consider switching doctors for another providers who offered a secure online portal with services like online appointment scheduling and lab results access.

Doctors, be warned. You’re now operating in a health consumer-empowered zone.

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9 Comments on "Self-service health: consumers want the same kinds of online services available to them in other aspects of their lives"

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Devon Herrick, NCPA
Devon Herrick, NCPA
5 years 6 months ago

I think all these services would be great. But I would like to go a step or two farther. Why can’t I consult with my doctor by email or phone call? Why can’t I send data on blood glucose (or blood pressure) to my doctor’s portal electronically? Merely using online tools to schedule traditional office visits seems to ignore the opportunity for remote monitoring and more convenient interactions.


[…] “Patients are losing patience,” Intuit found. Earlier this year, Intuit learned a lot about what U.S. patients are looking for from their doctors: more self-service options, more online access, and more self-health care tools in patient portals. Furthermore, many patients would consider leaving their current physician’s practice if online options aren’t offered by their doctors, which I wrote about in Health Populi on March 9, 2011. […]


[…] Most patients would be willing to change physician practices if their doctors don’t offer online access to tools, based on a recent survey from Intuit which Health Populi covered in March 2011 here. […]

[…] I pazienti vogliono comunicare online con i dottori. I dottori sono pronti? 31 agosto 2011 – Scritto da Redazione – Nessun commento in risposta a questo articolo. La rivoluzione del web 2.0 ha abituato le persone a considerare internet non solo un mezzo di comunicazione ma anche un luogo dove scambiare opinioni, trovare consigli, porre domande e trovare risposte contando su competenze e disponibilità di una comunità sempre più ampia di persone (conosciute o no). E allora perché non usare internet anche per dialogare con il proprio medico? A quanto pare negli Stati Uniti l’esigenza è diventata realtà al… Read more »

[…] By the way, in case you’re wondering, it’s not just the younger generation wanting online retrieval. It’s the baby boomer generation too, 62% of whom seek secure online tools to communicate with physicians. […]


[…] One-half of the members of Kaiser Permanente use the plans’ personal health record system, MyHealthManager. The most-used function of MyHealthManager is accessing lab results, according to […]


[…] written earlier about a survey from the financial software house Intuit  which indicated that eight in 10 Americans want access […]
2 years 5 months ago

Une fois de plus un poste véritablement passionnant