Patients Unclear on EHRs

June 17, 2010

For all the talk in the healthcare industry about EHRs, it turns out patients don’t know much about them.

For all the talk in the healthcare industry about EHRs, it turns out patients don’t know much about them. In fact, 42 percent of adults don’t know if their primary-care physician uses electronic medical records for visits or treatments, the WSJ Health Blog reports on a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.

More than 70 percent of those polled strongly or somewhat agree that an EHR is valuable. However, more than half strongly or somewhat agree that health records are for “my own use and should not be provided to other parties,” yet 78 percent agree that all physicians treating them should have access to that health data.

From HealthDay: Overall, "the general public only has a vague idea, only a very limited understanding, of what all this is about," reasoned Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, a service of Harris Interactive.

So it seems patients for the most part don’t fully understand or appreciate the benefits of an EHR. And perhaps they should, especially considering the government push to digitize healthcare, but who should be conducting that outreach? Do your patients discuss EHRs with you (either practices still using paper charts or those with an EHR)?