Studies show physicians still question EMR privacy

Believe it or not, physicians really do support the idea of EMRs. In one study of Massachusetts doctors, published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 86 percent said health information exchange would improve the quality of care, while 70 percent were of the opinion HIE would cut healthcare costs and 76 percent said it would save time.

Alas, there is a downside, HealthDay reports. About 71 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents expressed concern about the potential for privacy breaches. And not even a single physician surveyed was willing to pay a suggested $150 HIE monthly fee. Half said they would not pay any fee.

In another study that also appears in the January edition of JAMIA, a group of 56 mental health professionals at an academic hospital generally believed that EMRs were clearer and more complete than paper records, if not necessarily more factual.  That may be because 63 percent of the respondents were less willing to include "highly confidential" patient information in an EMR than in a paper chart. And if they were patients, 83 percent of the professionals would not want their mental health records routinely available to other healthcare providers.

"Designers of future systems will need to enhance electronic file security and simultaneously maintain legitimate accessibility in order to preserve confidence in psychiatric and other [EMR] systems," the study says.

For more:
- see this HealthDay story in USA Today
- read the "Openness of patients' reporting with use of electronic records: psychiatric clinicians' views" study
- read the "Physician attitudes toward health information exchange: results of a statewide survey" study

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