Saturday, April 17, 2010
Survey: Patients May Lie if Electronic Records Are Shared
Preface: So much for perfect information to be gathered and distributed by EHRs.
By Katherine Hobson
Patients already lie to their doctors. And almost half of respondents in a new survey said if there was any hint their health information — even stripped of identifying details like name or date of birth — would be shared with outside organizations, they might be even less forthcoming.
A study on electronic medical records use by the California HealthCare Foundation, a philanthropic group, found that 15% of the 1,849 adults surveyed said they’d conceal information from a physician if “the doctor had an electronic medical record system” that could share that info with other groups. Another 33% would “consider hiding information.”
Privacy concerns still hover around EMRs, with 68% of survey respondents reporting some degree of worry about what happens to their personal information once it’s stored in a doctor’s computer. EMR use by consumers is rising, though, with 7% of Americans reporting having used one, compared with 2.7% in a 2008 survey conducted by another organization. (Those that did use EMRs said they were helpful, and a significant number of them said the electronic records prompted them to ask questions about or take steps towards improving their health.)
Of course, not being completely honest with doctors is practically an American tradition, with or without EMRs. Another study out earlier this year, conducted by General Electric, the Cleveland Clinic and Ochsner Health System, broke down what patients generally lie about. Lack of exercise led the pack, with 13% of respondents, followed by compliance with medication instructions (9%), dietary habits (9%), drinking (7%), smoking (7%), use of illegal drugs (4%) and unprotected sex (4%).