Healthcare News & Insights

Only 26% of patients want EHRs – what doctors can do about it

Most doctors understand the benefits of switching to an electronic health record (EHR) system. But it might take some work to convince patients it’s a good idea. 

An EHR implementation can be a difficult transition, and healthcare organizations must make sure patients are on board with using a new system. Otherwise, patient satisfaction could dip and the organization may not get the most out of its health IT investment.

Unfortunately, getting patients’ approval for EHRs could be more of a challenge than many hospitals and practices might have anticipated, according to a recent Xerox survey.

Among the 2,147 U.S. adults, only 40% said they believe EHRs will help doctors deliver better, more efficient care. And only 26% said they would like to see all their health records converted to digital form.

Overall, nearly all respondents (85%) expressed some concerns about EHRs. Patients’ biggest fear: that their personal health information won’t be kept secure when it’s held electronically.

In a survey earlier this year, more than 80% of patients said they’re worried about the security risks of having their medical information stored in an EHR system. Specifically, the 2,100 respondents worried most about:

  1. Identity theft
  2. Having personal information exposed on the Internet
  3. Having medical data viewed by someone not involved in their care, and
  4. The possibility of an employer learning about a personal health condition.

Of course, those concerns haven’t stopped doctors and hospitals from adopting EHRs. But organizations that make the switch without addressing patients’ concerns could find themselves in trouble.

What should be done? First, doctors and staff members should specifically address those security concerns and explain to patients what policies and procedures are in place to protect their information.

Also, doctors can use patient visits to explain the benefits of EHRs. When doctors take an action with the system — for example, when an electronic record is shared with another caregiver — they should explain to the patient what they’re doing and why it’s faster and results in better care than an old, paper-based process.

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