Notwithstanding the inclusion of $20 billion (and counting) being allocated to incentives for providers to adopt electronic health records in the U.S. as part of the HITECH Act of 2009, the American public lacks an understanding about what EHRs really are.

26% of Americans ranked patients as the last among groups that would benefit from digital records, with the least to gain.

This stunning datapoint comes from a survey conducted for Xerox, illustrated in the chart.

79% of adults with concerns about EHRs report stolen records as their top concern, followed by misuse of information (69%) and loss, damage, or corrupted records (68%). The group that’s most concerned about stolen records are 82% of adults age 45-54. 3 in 4 members of the youngest adult cohort, 18-34, are concerned about lost/damaged/corrupted data. Here, the traditionally-thought-of Facebook Generation express their worries about the security digital health data.

What’s most fascinating is the group Xerox identified most keen on embracing digital health records: those 55 and older. This group was most familiar with the process of converting paper medical files to electronic formats, and feel EHRs mean better, more efficient health care. 57% of people 55 and older expressed that, in the words of Xerox, “the switch to digital is necessary.”

HarrisInteractive conducted this survey online for Xerox in February 2010 among 2,180 adults ages 18 and older.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: On the positive side, 1 in 3 adults overall (39%) believe the switch to digital EHRs is necessary. And people with a college degree value EHRs more than people with lower educational attainment.

Overall, 1 in 4 adults say they want digitized health records, and 1 in 5 don’t have any concerns about EHRs (relative to privacy, security, theft, or data loss).

These numbers demonstrate a fairly clueless population of Americans when it comes to understanding the importance and value of electronic health records in improving quality, access, and patient satisfaction with health delivery in the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services plans to survey Americans on this topic. The sooner, the better so that we can educate people on “why EHRs,” and get on with engaging people with their health data to improve outcomes and quality for health citizens.]]>

8 Comments on Clueless: Americans and electronic health records

BFFox said : Guest Report 12 years ago

Why be surprised that elders value EHRs -- and PHRs -- more than young folks, who -- after all -- believe themselves to be invulnerable. Elders, beset by illness or fear of illness, have stacks of records that are hard to keep track of. Elders have more dcotors. And elders also realize they are losing their brain cells, They will embrace anything that can help keep them, and their doctors, organized and able to provide better care. Spoken by an elder who has her PHRs with Zweena...

Dennis (Investigator/Negotiator said : Guest Report 12 years ago

The change over to EHR is about three decades late, but it has to happen. The incentive will help, sure, but there will still be labor pains aplenty. Yes, security will be compromised, errors will be introduced, and data will be lost. Ultimately, what we will have is a far better system than what we have now. EHRs will allow greater portability, extensibility, and efficiency. A properly working EHR system will eliminate many of the errors and idiocy of the current system of out-dated media in out-moded storage.

said : Guest Report 12 years ago

said : Guest Report 12 years ago

I'm waiting for consumers to learn: 1) the healthcare IT systems being used by their care providers are riddled with defects, 2) their personal health and financial data stored in those systems is often inaccurate, and 3) there are no credible processes in place today for inaccurate medical data to be corrected

said : Guest Report 12 years ago

said : Guest Report 12 years ago

Will tweet this post as well. Would be great if you could ad a share widget to this blog. Just a thought.

said : Guest Report 12 years ago

This kind of echoes a sentiment I expressed in a recent HIMSS Facebook discussion on what makes a good healthcare IT blogger - the need to write in such a way that the average patient, i.e. everybody, can understand what this industry is all about, and how it impacts the general public. Perhaps if healthcare IT bloggers keep the masses in mind when they write, headlines like this may soon fade away.

said : Guest Report 12 years ago

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