The idea of a nationwide electronic health record system is brilliant. Patients could use their own personal health record to request prescription refills, schedule future appointments and evaluate their own test results. The record could live on thumb drives, mobile devices, personal computers, or in the cloud.
In the health IT world, we all know the story. The concept of an EHR saves the patient and healthcare provider time and money. Pushing the federal government toward electronic health records reduces medical errors and redundant testing. For emergency room doctors, accessing vital information in a timely manner is no longer a problem.
But some patients worry about their privacy.
According to a recent study performed by Deloitte, 78 percent of U.S. adults are concerned or moderately concerned about the privacy of their healthcare data being at risk from using a computer or website that holds their personal health information.
So how comprehensive can the information in an EHR be before patients grow concerned? Do doctors using EHRs run the risk of missing the meat on the bones -- the details? We asked our Healthcare IT News social media followers if they felt as though doctors using EHRs tend to leave out patients' personal, unique stories.
@JEClissold believes that the patient should ask questions and doctors have the obligation to listen. "Docs should not use #EHRs as a replacement for quality patient interaction," he tweeted.
One follower, @EHRCIO, says that the EHR applies the data. "Some say EHRs 'Numb The Note,'" he tweeted late last week. "The physician is the brain in front of the EHR! M-Use it!"
A majority of our Healthcare IT News Facebook followers disagreed. In a question poll, 60 percent said that they do feel the EHR leaves out the personal unique history of the patient.
The discussion has been heating up on our LinkedIn Group as well. Dr. Renato M.E. Sabbatini commented that PHRs specifically bring up problems of trust, confidence and reliability for the patient. This, he concluded, could leave the patient withholding important health facts. "Would you, as a doctor, read a health record where the patient decided what information to enter and what to conceal?" he proposed.
Clifton D. Croan, CEO and chairman of the board at Enigami Systems, Inc., replied in disdain to Sabbatini's earlier comment. "I disagree about your premise. Consumers trust info about money, sex and relationships online so it's not that great a leap to include health data."
Croan has a good point. Why can we buy practically anything online today, but there's nowhere to order prescriptions or get details on our order history within a designated website?
Some Twitter followers approve of this sentiment. "The EHR puts the patients clinical information in a structured form to help develop the unique story better," said @WTOAssociates.
"The number is for the document, not the patient," according to @CuraviSecurity. "It's up to both the patient and doctor to create a unique history."
What do you think the risks and responsibilities are of an electronic health record? Does your health timeline contribute to the way your general practitioner treats you as a patient? Tweet at us @HITNewsTweet and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to leave your comments today.