How do Patients Feel about EHRs?

A lot of what is written in the media about EHR systems tend to focus on the reactions of doctors, institutions or the federal government to various aspects of EHR implementation and programs such as meaningful use. But it is vital to remember that patient reaction to EHR use is just as – if not more – important.

Do patients like the fact that their doctor uses computers instead of writing notes? Do they trust EHR systems to keep their health data safe? A recent poll attempts to answer these and other similar questions regarding patient attitudes to EHRs (Survey conducted by Morning Consult, May 2014). The survey provides interesting insights about what end-users think about the biggest upgrade to the healthcare system in recent memory.

Contrary to the predictions of naysayers, 80% of respondents expected that hospitals would use EHRs. Quite surprisingly, this number did not vary across age groups indicating that even senior citizens see the benefits of EHR use. However, only 53% of the people surveyed trusted that the EHRs being used were safe. About 39% of users were actually worried about the safety of electronic health data.

This dichotomy between expectations and trust has been discerned and examined across other studies. Some experts speculate that most people clearly see that the healthcare industry has to use software going forward in order to deal with the huge amount of data being generated within the system. But periodic revelations in the media regarding the hacking of health databases and lost devices with sensitive health data on them has also caused much worry.

Interestingly, trust levels in EHRs varied significantly with education since 61% of those with postgraduate education trusted EHR systems compared to 50% of individuals who had never gone to college. One helpful take away from these numbers is that patient education can go a long way in calming any security fears that they might have about their health information. Patient expectation around medical technology has also changed as 38% of respondents expected their doctor to use an iPad or tablet compared to 34% of individuals expecting laptop usage.

Dovetail EDR is a web-based application accessible from a browser on any device including tablets and laptops. If a concerned patient asks about the security of their data, you can easily explain the systems and procedures within your clinic. Most patients understand – and trust – cloud technology, especially if they see that you use the same devices that they have for personal use.

  

  

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