Study Finds High Patient Support for Electronic Records; Physicians Indifferent

Feelings remain mixed among patients, medical records staff, and physicians on a number of functions associated with electronic patient records.

Despite a growing popularity for health information and technology in healthcare, physicians, medical records staff, and patients continue to face technological and individual barriers to patient record exchange in the hospital setting.

Researchers found that feelings remained mixed on a number of functions associated with electronic patient records (EPRs) between all 3 stakeholder groups. The new study, published in BMC Health Services Research, demonstrated that patients highly agreed to privacy protection, system promotion, and quality increment among the exchange system.

Physicians, however, expressed little concern about the same focus areas of the EPR system except for user interface and the medical records staff group fell in the middle of the 2 groups.

The study also noted that while the patient population expressed the highest support for EPRs, only about a half of the responding patients knew what an EPR was. Within the patient population group, those with a high use of care expressed the highest support.

“Logically, healthy individuals might not necessarily perceive a need for sharing medical information with other physicians in a different location,” the authors wrote.

Researchers suggest that the high support from the patients and little support by the physician’s may be the combination that has subsequently been creating the behavioral and low-support problems for EPRs. The report theorized that implementing capitation reimbursement or pay for performance models may motivate physicians to collect and utilize additional EPRs for improved patient care and health outcomes — the study’s characterization of low-attitudinal scores among care providers allows researchers to find the best-fit strategic plans going forward.

“To deliver improved care and to enhance patient benefits, systematic research that examines the effective schemes of promoting medical information sharing and exchange involving IT, behavioral and social sciences, and other disciplines should be prioritized,” the authors concluded.