Patients want to share their health records online frequently and securely, but consumers are still waiting for doctors and hospitals to catch up with those expectations.

That’s the chief takeaway from a new consumer survey from Transcend Insights, a subsidiary of Humana Inc. and a developer of population health management products. The survey found that a vast majority of patients (97%) believe it is important for any health institution, regardless of type or location, to have access to their full medical history in order to receive good medical care.

Patients were also asked to rate factors that are most important to receiving personalized care. Top priorities for patients included having access to their own medical records—92%. Also important, at 93%, was the ability for doctors and hospitals to easily share and receive important electronic information about a patient’s medical history wherever the person needs treatment.

But today only 25% of hospitals are able to securely share patient medical records outside of their health system, Transcend says. And only about 35% of medical specialists receive information electronically from the primary care physician referring a patient, according to the Transcend survey.

“As an industry, the time has come to move beyond viewing interoperability as a philosophical challenge or a problem that we’ll eventually get our arms around,” says Transcend chief medical officer and vice president of informatics and analytics Thomas J. Van Gilder.


The Transcend survey of 2,597 consumers also suggests that patients may be giving the benefit of the doubt to providers when it comes to data sharing and the ability of their medical records to travel with them. When respondents were asked whether their doctors could easily share and access important information online about their medical history whenever or wherever they needed care, 72% of patients believed that this is happening.

“Unfortunately, due to ongoing setbacks in connecting the sprawling healthcare system, this type of open access to records is rare,” the survey says

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 64% of patients say that they use a mobile device and apps to manage their health and wellness.
  • 71% believe it would be helpful for their doctor to have access to this information as part of their medical history.
  • 38% of patients are more likely to completely trust the healthcare they receive from any medical professional when the provider has access to their full medical history.
  • 87% of patients surveyed believe that provider access to their full medical history is important to receiving high-quality care.