Study: Most Americans support EMRs
Seventy-eight percent of Americans favor the use of electronic medical records, according to a recent study by NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent research organization.
The study was published in the February edition of the journal HSR: Health Services Research.
Researchers say this report is different because most previous studies of EMRs have focused on the attitudes of clinicians or health organizations. Surprisingly few have focused on the attitudes of consumers toward health IT and, of those, none were based on a sample that fully represents the American people.
[Read another view point: Poll: public isn't budging much on their attitudes about health IT.]
Key findings of the study are:
- Fifty-nine percent believe EMRs could reduce health costs
- Seventy-two percent support sharing of health care information among providers
- Eighty percent favored use of e-prescribing
- Seventy-nine percent thought that personal health records would help patients to be better informed about their health.
- Despite the fact that 48 percent of Americans are concerned about the privacy of medical records, fully 64 percent said that the benefits of EMRs outweigh privacy concerns
The study also found that Americans aren't without their reservations. Forty-four percent said they are not willing to pay to increase the use of health IT, and 57 percent said that use of health IT would make no difference in their choice of a physician.
Individuals with lower income and those who have less familiarity with electronic technology have less favorable attitudes towards health IT, the study found. Researchers say this implies that some of the populations that are most likely to benefit from health IT may be least open-minded about it.
"Our core finding is that a large majority of Americans support use of health IT to improve healthcare and safety, and reduce costs, which suggests that government and industry efforts to increase the effectiveness and use of health IT are generally consistent with the public's wishes," said Dan Gaylin, NORC's executive vice president for Research, and the lead author of the study. "But there is still room for efforts to demonstrate the advantages of health IT among some important demographic groups."
Click here to read the study.