Patients reluctant to trust EHR security measures, says study

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According to a new survey commissioned by medical informatics vendor Practice Fusion, almost half of patients who responded stated that they believed paper health records were more secure than electronic health records (EHRs), reports Information Week.

More than 1,000 patients were polled as part of the survey. Approximately 47 percent of patients said that they thought paper-based health records were more secure than those stored on clinical informatics networks. In contrast, 54 percent of the 1,220 physicians polled stated that they believed medical informatics systems were more secure.

Other key findings of the study indicated that younger patients between the ages of 18 and 24 years old stated that they thought paper-based records were more secure than digital records. Patients over the age of 50 also believed that paper-based patient health records were more secure.

Of the respondents who indicated paper-based records were more secure, more than 87 percent stated that such records were more private and allowed for greater control over who has access to patient medical information.

Clinical informatics experts believe that misconceptions over recent patient health record security breaches and general attitudes towards digital security could be responsible for patients’ reluctance to embrace clinical informatics systems.

“The irony of general population concern about [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] breaches is that many of these breaches are not even electronic in nature,” Matthew Douglass, vice president of engineering at Practice Fusion, told the news source. “Paper records get accessed fairly regularly without proper authorization, with no audit trail in place to track who saw which patients’ information.”

According to a recent study by healthcare information firm SK&A, the adoption rate of medical informatics systems at larger medical facilities stands at approximately 75 percent. The survey examined the clinical informatics capabilities of more than 237,000 healthcare facilities across the U.S.and found that rates of adoption of clinical informatics networks stands at around 40 percent.