Consumers Might Withhold Information if Trust in EHRs is Lacking

While the vast majority of consumers agree that information stored in electronic health records (EHRs) is secure, those who don’t say they would withhold information from healthcare providers, a government study reports.

JAHIMA_Web_GraphEighty-four percent of the 2,050 individuals responding to a telephone poll conducted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) said they strongly agree or agree that providers have reasonable protections over data stored in EHRs. The ONC survey focused on consumer attitudes about the privacy and security of EHRs, and the data transmitted through EHRs to health information exchanges (HIEs).

Consumer perceptions about the safety and privacy are tied to effectiveness of provider-patient communications, according to survey results. This is evidenced in findings that show “a modest number of patients overall responded that they had kept information from their provider (7 percent); this increased five-fold among individuals who disagreed that providers were taking measures to protect EHRs,” the report states.

Additionally, ONC investigators found that compared to the overall population, individuals who strongly disagree that health care providers have reasonable protections in place for EHRs are almost five times more likely to have withheld information from their provider.

Researchers concluded that providers play a crucial role in ensuring the security of patient data stored in EHRs, and in communicating security measures to patients.

“Consumers’ lack of trust in providers’ protections of EHRs has the potential to impact patient-provider communication and consumer support for health IT, including health information exchange,” ONC investigators wrote.

Click here to read the full report.


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