Survey: Consumers unaware, unsure of government's EHR plan

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A substantial number of the U.S. public is not aware of the federal government’s plan to make electronic health records (EHRs) available to all citizens, according to a survey of 1095 consumers recently conducted by IDC's Health Industry Insights. Seventy percent of respondents claimed they were unaware of the plans, but regardless of their level of knowledge, they seemed split as to whether they believed the government would deliver on its promise with 45 percent confident and 43 percent not confident.

"Consumers are both unaware of this federal initiative and skeptical of the value proposition associated with digital healthcare," said Marc Holland, author of the report, and program director of healthcare provider research at Health Industry Insights. "It's clear that those involved in these efforts to improve healthcare service delivery — government, providers, vendors, etc. — are being called upon by consumers to clearly demonstrate and effectively publicize evidence that they are making tangible progress and addressing consumer concerns related to privacy and confidentiality," added Holland.
          
Additional results of the survey included:

  • Eighty-six percent are “somewhat or very concerned” about whether the health community has the wherewithal to protect the privacy of personal health information that comprise EHRs;
  • Privacy and security is believed to be the top challenge (44 percent) in meeting the government’s complete data. This is followed by the concern over existing complexities of getting all the branches of the industry to cooperate with the initiative (24 percent); and
  • Many believe that EMRs (electronic medical records) as well as EHRs will benefit the quality of care provided, but only 33 percent believe this will translate into a drop in costs.