More effort needed to promote EHR safety, security

As the country focuses on making the switch to electronic health records (EHRs), greater efforts need to be made to assure patients that their personal medical information will be safe and secure. Those are the findings of a recent online survey conducted among 2,720 U.S. adults for Xerox Corporation by Harris Interactive.

About 80 percent of respondents who said they have concerns about digital medical records pointed to stolen personal information by a computer hacker as their No. 1 worry. The threat of lost, damaged or corrupted records was the second biggest concern among those surveyed at 64 percent. Information misuse also had survey respondents worried.

What's more, respondents indicated they remain uncertain about how EHRs would impact them. Only 18 percent--an increase of just 2 percent from Xerox's 2010 survey--of American adults said they had a healthcare provider discuss EHRs with them.

Still, more than half of American adults familiar with the conversion of paper records to digital records (51 percent) said they think that EHRs will result in better, more efficient care--up from 49 percent last year.

"The survey results indicate an urgent need for better patient-provider communication," said Paul Solverson, partner, strategic advisory services, ACS, A Xerox Company, in a statement. "Providers need to start conveying the benefits of electronic records, particularly the security advantages over today's paper-based system."

For more information:
- see the Xerox announcement