Patients Not Quite Ready For EHRs, Study Shows

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While providers may not object significantly to the idea of adopting electronic health records (EHRs), hurdles remain when it comes to convincing patients that their personal health information is truly safeguarded under an EHR umbrella. So indicates a new survey from Xerox Corp., whose findings support the contention that care must be taken to truly convince patients that their health data is safe when contained in an EHR. Of 2,720 respondents to the survey, 83% claim to have concerns about digital medical records. Such concerns include respondents’ fear that private data could be hacked (about 66%) and that their EHRs could be lost, damaged, or corrupted (54%). Fifty-two percent of participants worry about the misuse of information contained in EHRs. The same number say they fear a power outage or computer problem could prevent providers from accessing their health information when it is needed. On the flip side, only16% of individuals surveyed report they had been involved by their health care provider—whether a hospital, physician, or dentist—in the conversion of their paper health records into digital format. This figure represents a mere 2% more individuals in this category than the number of people who had been involved in the digital EHR conversion process when Xerox conducted a similar survey last year. “The survey results indicate an urgent need for better patient-provider communication,” notes Paul Solverson, partner, strategic advisory services at ACS, a Xerox Company. “Providers need to start conveying the benefits of electronic records, particularly the security advantages over today’s paper-based system.” However, more than half (51%) of survey participants who consider themselves familiar with the conversion of paper records to digital ones do believe that EHRs will result in better, more efficient care. Forty-nine percent of respondents to last year’s survey expressed that same opinion. To read the press release, click here: