News | April 10, 2015

Harris Poll Survey Finds Patients Want Deeper Digital Connection with Doctors

More than three in five consumers would choose telehealth visits if offered; 61 percent of doctors would recommend telehealth visits to patients at least some of the time

April 10, 2015 — eClinicalWorks released recent survey findings examining public attitudes towards advances in patient engagement tools, and also conducted a separate study looking at physician opinions on this topic.

According to the survey — commissioned by eClinicalWorks and conducted online by Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults — in March 2015, 84 percent of people say their doctor's offices have a patient portal. Of those whose doctors do have a patient portal, adults age 55+ (61 percent) are more likely to access their health information via this tool than adults age 18-54 (45 percent). Additional findings from the survey include:

  • More than one-third (37 percent) of people who use a wearable device/fitness tracker wear it every day.
  • 78 percent of those using wearable devices/fitness trackers more than once a month feel it useful for their doctors to have access to that information.
  • More than 3 in 5 adults (64 percent) would at least sometimes choose telehealth visits to replace in-person visits for things such as follow-up visits for a previous concern, eye infections, skin checks, etc., if this option were offered by doctors.
    • More than a quarter (27 percent) say they would always/often choose this option.
    • Parents with children under age 18 in the household (76 percent) are much more likely to say they would at least sometimes choose telehealth visits than those without children under age 18 in the household (61 percent).
  • 3 in 5 (60 percent) people are likely to schedule appointments with their doctors via a patient portal or other secure website, if it was available.


The survey of healthcare providers from March 2015 examined advances in patient engagement tools from the perspective of healthcare organizations. Regarding sharing data with the electronic health record via patient engagement tools, physicians say:

  • Three in four physicians (75 percent) said a top benefit was allowing patients to access their medical health record for their own review or to share with other doctors easily;
  • Three in four physicians (75 percent) also cited providing patients with automatic alerts and reminders on appointments already scheduled as a top benefit; and
  • More than half of physicians (56 percent) said making it easier for patients to schedule an appointment or change an appointment with your office is a top benefit.


Of physicians that actively use a patient portal to communicate with their patients:

  • 67 percent have noticed a change in conversation with patients since portals, health apps and wearable devices have become available.
  • 61 percent would recommend telehealth visits at least sometimes to patients.
  • More than half of physicians would find having access to information from patients’ wearable devices or fitness trackers somewhat useful to help treat them.


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