A large share of patients have reported that their physicians’ use of an EHR (electronic health record) has made the quality of care they receive and their interactions with their physicians better.
The data, coming from the January 2019 KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) Health Tracking Poll, which included responses from nearly 1,200 U.S. adults, examines the public’s attitudes about and experiences with EHRs. Researchers note that at the beginning of the healthcare reform debate in 2009, KFF polls showed the public held mixed views of EHRs. Most said it would improve care (67 percent), but fewer believed it would reduce healthcare costs (22 percent) and large shares had privacy concerns (59 percent).
There has, of course, been a significant increase in the implementation of EHRs since 2009; in the last decade, the number of Americans who report that their healthcare providers routinely enter data into an EHR has nearly doubled, from 46 percent to 88 percent, according to the KFF research.
And among those whose physician uses an EHR (88 percent of the public), 45 percent say that their physician’s use of an EHR has made the quality of care they receive better, while 44 percent say their interactions with their physician are better. Meanwhile, few say that EHRs have made the quality of care they receive or their interactions with their physician worse (six percent and seven percent, respectively).
However, concerns about privacy and accuracy of records remain, according to the research. More than half of those with EHRs (54 percent) report feeling “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that an unauthorized person might get access to their confidential medical records and information. This is a slight decrease from the share who reported feeling concerned in 2016 (60 percent).
What’s more, nearly half (45 percent) report feeling “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that there are errors in their personal health information that may negatively affect their care, compared to a larger share (54 percent) who say they are “not too concerned” or “not at all concerned.”
Additionally, one in five overall (21 percent) say that they or a family member have noticed an error in their EHR. The most-reported errors are incorrect medical history (9 percent); fewer report incorrect personal information (five percent), incorrect lab or test results (three percent), incorrect medication or prescription information (three percent), and billing issues (less than one percent).