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Patients Uneasy About Security of Electronic Health Records

02/22/2011 -A new survey finds patients wary of the move to electronic health records and the ability of their healthcare providers to secure them.

During the last week of January, CDW Healthcare surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults who had been to a doctor's office, a hospital, or an outpatient facility in the past 18 months. What the survey found was a broad cross-section of the American public who were uneasy about the potential security problems associated with the move from paper to electronic records.

Nearly one-half of all respondents believed electronic health records would negatively impact the privacy of their personal information and health data. Patients' concerns varied from fears their information would wind up on the Internet to cybercriminals using the information to blackmail them or steal their identity. Respondents also worried that if employers gained access to their health information, they could use it to manage their benefits and compensation or to make hiring decisions.

These results came despite patients' overwhelming trust in healthcare providers to do the right thing with their personal health information.

According to CDW, nearly seven out of ten patients trusted their doctor's office with their personal information, whereas only one of ten patients trusted their insurance company, the federal government, and their employer to protect their personal information. More noteworthy, 83 percent of patients surveyed said they trusted their doctors to use their information in their best interest.

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