Survey finds trepidation, uncertainty about EHRs

By Mike Miliard
10:53 AM

A new survey from Xerox Corporation shows that more needs to be done to convince patients that their personal health information is secure in electronic health records.

Of the poll's 2,720 respondents, nearly 80 percent of those who have concerns about digital medical records indicated stolen personal information to be their chief concern, followed by the threat of lost, damaged or corrupted records (64 percent) and the misuse of information (62 percent).

“The survey results indicate an urgent need for better patient-provider communication,” said 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.”

[See also: Xerox eyes diversification with $6.4B acquisition of ACS.]

Despite healthcare reform dominating the news for the last year, the survey indicates that respondents are still unclear on how EHRs impact them. Only 18 percent (up just 2 percent from Xerox’s 2010 survey) of U.S. adults who have a healthcare provider have been approached by their provider to discuss EHRs.

Botsford Hospital, in Farmington Hills, Mich., is launching a system later this year that will allow EHRs to “follow” a patient as he or she moves through different departments of the hospital, enhancing the quality of care.

“When a patient moves from the Emergency Center to Radiology or Critical Care, for example, their EHRs will be immediately available to the various caregivers, greatly increasing patient safety and quality of care,” said Paul E. LaCasse, MD, president and CEO, Botsford Hospital.

[See also: Survey highlights need for docs to talk to patients about moving to an EHR.]

The benefits of the system, which is being implemented by Xerox, are already being communicated to staff and the hospital has a detailed communication plan in place for patients. “We consider communication and training an important part of implementation,” said LaCasse. “It’s essential to allay concerns and demonstrate what a powerful tool EHRs can be in providing quality healthcare.”

The survey did find that more than half of respondents familiar with the conversion of paper records to digital records (51 percent) do believe that EHRs will result in better, more efficient care – up from last year’s survey when only 49 percent agreed.