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Technology Fears, Privacy Breaches Remain Barriers for EHR Use

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 16, 2010

Of those who answered the survey, two-thirds said they had concerns about the privacy and security of their health information. But of those who said they were already using a PHR, the majority said they were not very worried about breach of security and would not let those concerns block better ways of learning how health information technology can improve care.

To date, those who responded to the survey who lived in California were more likely than people who live anywhere else to say they use personal health records, but the percentage was only 15%. For example, 11% of respondents from other western states said they use PHRs, 5% of those in the South including Texas, 5% of the Midwest, and 6% of the Northeast.

But the survey indicated that many Americans want to use PHRs provided by their physicians or insurers. "The more successful the current federal effort is to promote EHR [electronic health record] adoption among physicians and other providers, the easier it will be for patients to access their health information from their most trusted source," said Smith.

Sam Karp, CHCF vice president of programs, said health providers have a lot of work to do to overcome concerns about privacy in the use of EHRs. But, he said, "as more physicians adopt EHRs, their patients will have easier access to their health information.

"Most important, we need physicians and patients to start talking about how these tools can improve their communication and assist patients to be more in control of their own health."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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