Survey reveals attitudes about health-care information technology

October 15, 2009

Health-care information technology (HIT) has the potential to cut costs, increase access and improve quality in the U.S. health care system, according to results of a Harris Interactive survey of a nationwide sample of 2,200 adults aged at least 18 years commissioned by the Career College Association and TechAmerica.

Health-care information technology (HIT) has the potential to cut costs, increase access and improve quality in the U.S. health care system, according to results of a Harris Interactive survey of a nationwide sample of 2,200 adults aged at least 18 years commissioned by the Career College Association and TechAmerica.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said that a fully implemented HIT system would have a positive outcome for health-care quality and access, and 64 percent of participants said it would have a positive outcome on health-care costs for patients.

HIT also might help Americans adopt more healthful lifestyles, according to survey results. Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed that people would adopt more healthful behaviors if IT systems and well-trained personnel to help them use the technology were more widely available in venues such as drug stores, health clubs, recreation centers, schools and other places readily accessible to the public.

The survey revealed participant concerns about the availability of health-care workers properly trained to use new technology, however. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that one of the reasons that HIT is not more widely used in the U.S. is that trained personnel are lacking. Thirty three percent of participants indicated that not enough people are trained in using HIT, whereas 17 percent of respondents said that the popularity of the HIT field is attracting adequate numbers of people for training.

Additionally, 35 percent of participants expressed concerns about the effect of this technology on personal privacy, but 25 percent said that they believe “there are adequate protections in place to assure the confidentiality of my health-care records.” Forty-one percent of respondents agreed that “it would be more costly not to computerize health-care records,” whereas 11 percent said that “conversion to an electronic system of record-keeping and transmission of information in the health-care industry is too costly.”