Security of records top EHR concern for patients

June 24, 2010

Potential theft is the top worry of those with concerns about electronic health records, according to a recent online survey conducted for Xerox Corp. by Harris Interactive.

Potential theft is the top worry of those with concerns about electronic health records (EHRs), according to a recent online survey conducted for Xerox Corp. by Harris Interactive.

Seventy-nine percent of survey participants who said they have concerns about digital medical records reported that the possibility that the records could be stolen is their top concern. Other top concerns among respondents include the potential misuse of information (69 percent) and the possibility that records will be lost or damaged (68 percent).

"Providers can ease this fear by discussing the security precautions taken to safeguard against data breaches," says John B. Jones, vice president of healthcare providers at Xerox. "By arming Americans with information on EHR basics, we can prevent some of the influence of the media hype cycle around potential security risks."

Sixteen percent of respondents who have a healthcare provider/institution reported being approached by their healthcare provider/institution to discuss converting to digital records.

This finding indicates that, "ultimately, it is the patient [who] controls the effectiveness of treatment, his or her overall health, and perceived quality of care," says Martin Reiser, manager of government affairs for Xerox. "Providers can help patients and their families become well-informed participants in their own care and understand how EHRs will help them get more out of the healthcare system."

Respondents indicated that patients as a group have the least to gain from digital records.