Many aren't even sure their doctor offers the technology, new poll finds
THURSDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Despite years of hype around the issue, less than one in 10 American adults now utilize electronic medical records or turn to e-mail to contact their doctor, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.
Nearly half of respondents weren't even sure if their physician offered these technologies, according to the survey.
Still, most of those polled said they would like their doctors to access their medical records with the click of a mouse. On the other hand, only about a third (30 percent) believe their insurer should have that same access.
Overall, "the general public only has a vague idea, only a very limited understanding, of what all this is about," reasoned Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, a service of Harris Interactive.
The poll was conduced online from June 8-10 among 2,035 U.S. adults.
Despite the Obama administration's campaign to expand the use of health information technology, public attitudes toward electronic medical records haven't budged much over the past few years, the poll shows.
This year, as in 2009, 78 percent of adults indicated that they "strongly" or "somewhat" agree that doctors should have access to their electronic medical records. In 2007, 80 percent were in agreement on physicians' access to those records.
But patients' use of various electronic functions remains very low. Only 9 percent can communicate with their doctors by e-mail, up from 4 percent in 2006. Eight percent can schedule a doctor's visit online, up from 3 percent, and 8 percent can get diagnostic test results by e-mail, up from 2 percent in 2006.
A little more than a quarter (28 percent) of those polled thought their doctor used electronic medical records, but 42 percent said they didn't know if their primary care physician had the technology.
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