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Doctors and Patients Worry About E-Health for Different Reasons

Doctors and Patients Worry About E-Health for Different Reasons

A new study finds while both government and industry organizations have been pushing electronic records systems, doctors remain reluctant to do so

Concerns about costs, adverse affects on patients and the danger of being locked in to outmoded technology have so far stopped all but 17 percent of US physicians from adopting an electronic records system, according to a new study.

Of the 2758 doctors the report's authors surveyed nationwide, just four percent reported having a fully functional system

The study finds while both government and industry organizations have been pushing health carers to adopt electronic records systems, doctors remain reluctant to do so.

The study comes as a non-profit advocacy group has issued a new call for the adoption of a comprehensive privacy and security framework for e-health to protect patients' interests.

The study — led by Catherine M DesRoches at Massachusetts General Hospital's Institute for Health Policy — found just 17 percent of US physicians use electronic records systems, defined as one encompassing patients' medical records, prescription lists, problems, and notes from past visits and which allows doctors to order prescriptions and tests, and review results from those tests. Patients should also be able to easily access and transmit their own medical records when necessary.

"When you use a good definition of what a record system is, very few physicians appear to have one," DesRoches says.

Of the 2758 doctors the report's authors surveyed nationwide, just four percent reported having a fully functional system, with another 13 percent claiming to be running a basic system.

Primary care doctors and doctors with large practices or those in hospitals or medical centres were significantly more likely to have electronic medical record systems.

The findings are slated to appeared in an upcoming edition New England Journal of Medicine.

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