While more healthcare providers continue to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHRs), a recent Xerox (NYSE: XRX) survey revealed the need for doctors to educate consumers about digital medical records to comply with upcoming federal mandates.
Xerox’s fourth annual EHR survey of 2,009 U.S. adults revealed that only 29 percent of those who have a doctor have been informed their medical records will be converted to digital format. While this shows a 13-point improvement from four years ago, the survey results continued to show that the majority of Americans (83 percent) have concerns, such as security, about EHRs and less than one-third (32 percent) want their medical records to be digital (compared to 82 percent and 26 percent in 2010, respectively).
Healthcare providers seeking to earn Meaningful Use Stage 2 incentives, which first become available for hospitals on Oct. 1, will have one year to make patients’ medical records available via online portals and must have 5 percent of their patients actually access the data. Currently, only 19 percent of the U.S. adults surveyed have access to their medical records online.
“The juxtaposition here is that since the HITECH Act became law four years ago, healthcare providers have made tremendous strides in adopting EHRs, but there has been little to no change in Americans’ acceptance of digital medical records,” said Charles Fred, president of healthcare provider solutions at Xerox. “Patients will soon have more access to their personal health information than ever before, but they need to be educated by providers on how this will empower them to take charge of their own care.”With more than 40 years of experience and 22,000 employees serving the healthcare industry, Xerox is uniquely positioned to help hospitals and physicians as they shift focus from Meaningful Use Stage 1 requirements of adopting EHRs toward the next stage’s more complex requirements, such as engaging patients in the implementation and adoption of secure portals. “Healthcare providers turn to us for Meaningful Use assessments and our expertise in developing the new workflows and programs that they will need to attract, teach and support patients’ use of online portals,” Fred said. Despite continued resistance and slow progress, Americans do see some benefits of EHRs, with 62 percent agreeing that they will reduce overall healthcare costs and 73 percent believing that EHRs will improve the quality of service they receive from their healthcare provider, respectively up 2 percent and 3 percent from last year.