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Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Date:12/19/2009

Although physicians support the use of electronic health records, concerns about potential privacy breaches remain an issue, according to two research articles published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Informatics Association (JAMIA), in its premiere issue as one of 30 specialty titles published by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) Group, UK.

One published study is based on views of more than 1,000 family practice and specialist physicians in Massachusetts who were asked whether they thought electronic health information exchange (HIE) would drive down costs, improve patient care, free up their time and preserve patient confidentiality. They were also asked whether they would be willing to pay a monthly fee to use the system.

The electronic exchange of health information (HIE) among different long- distance providers has become the focus of intense national interest, following recent legislation and moves to offer cash incentives for those who switch to the system.

The responses showed widespread support for the use of HIE, even though only just over half were actually using electronic health records.

Most (86%) said that HIE would improve the quality of care and seven out of 10 thought it would cut costs. Three out of four (76%) felt that it also would save time.

But 16% said they were "very concerned" about potential breaches of privacy, while a further 55% were "somewhat concerned."

The authors note that the responses indicate a lower level of concern than expressed by physicians in the UK, but suggest that this might change if breaches occur to a greater extent than currently recognized.

Despite their overall enthusiasm, physicians were not willing to support the suggested $150 monthly fee, and nearly half were unwilling to pay anything at all.

A second study reported in JAMIA, suggests that mental health professionals h
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Contact: Nancy Light
nlight@amia.org
301-657-5903
American Medical Informatics Association
Source:Eurekalert

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