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Getting Patients to Share Their Electronic Health Records

Education is the key to getting patients to share their medical records electronically with healthcare providers, according to a study from the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Management.

Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the study found that while patient education has typically focused on the benefits of electronic records, privacy concerns keep most from signing up.

“When a patient decides not to share their records electronically, it can result in increased costs, medical errors, and undesired health outcomes,” said study co-author Lawrence Sanders, PhD, professor of management science and systems in the UB School of Management. “But patients are more concerned about privacy, and healthcare providers should make it a priority to let them know about all the policies and security measures in place to protect them.”

By making patients more aware of existing privacy policies and security measures, healthcare providers create an environment where patients are more likely to share their personal health information and therefore still be able to achieve cost and error reduction benefits, the researchers said. 

Beyond patient education, the researchers found that educating healthcare providers is just as important.

“Physicians need to know how important their relationships are with the people who come to them for care,” said Joana Gaia, PhD, clinical assistant professor of management science and systems in the UB School of Management. “As doctors spend more time with patients and involve them in decision-making processes, they will be more willing to share their medical records electronically—and see the benefits of doing so.”

This article was adapted from information provided by UB.

 

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