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 Patients Equate EHRs With Higher Quality

Survey examines perceptions of EHRs among patients and physicians.

 Managing Editor

​More than 81 percent of patients and 62 percent of physicians have a positive perception of electronic documentation, according to a new study from Sage Healthcare Insights.

The survey, conducted to determine attitudes regarding the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), examines the effect of implementing an EHR system on both physicians and their patients.

According to the study, patients felt more comfortable with physicians who used an EHR system and, more importantly, felt that the information contained in the medical record was more accurate when they physically saw information being entered electronically.

“What we learned is patients like to see their verbatim information entered into the record as they said it, not as the doctor interpreted it,” said Betty Otter-Nickerson, president of Sage Healthcare Division.

About 42 percent of physicians use EHRs to document their patient care, and about one in three uses an EHR during a patient encounter.

Among the respondents, 45 percent of patients had a “very positive” perception of their physician or clinician documenting patient care with a computer or other electronic device. More than 60 percent of physicians feel the best benefit to using EHR is the access they have to patient records in real time.

The majority of survey respondents agreed with the statement that EHR will help improve the quality of health care—including 78 percent of patients and 62 percent of physicians.

Both groups, however, expressed concerns about privacy and the security of EHRs (81 percent of patients and 62 patients of physicians).

The most important benefits of EHR systems agreed upon by the two groups were that they give the physician access to patients’ medical records and history in real time; when appropriate, they help the physician securely and seamlessly share information with other doctors, pharmacies, and payers; and they help physicians make good decisions about patient care, ultimately driving the quality of patient care.

“Patients who participated in the survey said they had greater confidence in providers who use electronic records. This suggests that there’s an opportunity for doctors to learn directly from their patients how to improve their practices and their patient relationships,” Otter-Nickerson said.

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