Nearly 80% of U.S. consumers surveyed this year said they're wary of electronic health records because they fear that their personal information might be stolen or lost if it were stored in an EHR system.
The online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for Xerox in February and released last month, polled 2,720 U.S. adults.
The No. 1 concern: hackers.
"There's a lack of understanding about what EHRs are all about," said Paul Solverson, a partner in Xerox's strategic advisory services unit. "All the stereotypical concerns with ID theft encroach into the healthcare field ."
He acknowledged that there is a "track record" of data disclosures in the healthcare industry, but said those are mostly the result of "media at rest being lost" -- as in the case of a misplaced laptop or errant file transfer -- not hacking.
Solverson said the healthcare industry has done a woefully inadequate job of informing patients about the technology and its benefits, such as the fact that it can actually make patient information more secure.
"If patients had any idea today how accessible paper records are, I think they'd be astonished," he said.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.
To learn more about the use of IT in the medical field, read Computerworld's new e-book, Healthcare IT's Challenges & Opportunities .
Read more about government/industries in Computerworld's Government/Industries Topic Center.