Privacy Key Obstacle to Adopting Electronic Health Records, Study Finds

The United States could achieve significant health care savings if it achieved widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), but insufficient privacy protections are hindering public acceptance of the EHR concept, according to a new paper from researchers from North Carolina State University. The paper outlines steps that could be taken to boost privacy and promote the use of EHRs.

Read more on Science Daily. The article cites Dr. David Baumer, head of the business management department at NC State and co-author of the paper:

However, a lack of public support related to privacy concerns has hindered its progress. And Baumer says that those concerns are not entirely unwarranted. For example, there is some evidence showing that EHRs can facilitate identity theft. But EHRs have become prevalent in the European Union, which has significantly more stringent privacy protections and whose citizens feel more comfortable with the EHR concept.

“We are moving in the right direction in regard to putting better privacy protections in place, but we have a long way to go,” Baumer says. And that lack of privacy protection is hindering the adoption of EHRs.

Note that what Dr. Baumer is saying is more consistent with what I have maintained than what Eric Demers suggested. The latter treated privacy concerns somewhat dismissively, in my opinion.

The paper is  “Privacy and Security in the Implementation of Health Information Technology (Electronic Health Records): U.S. and EU Compared,”  and is c-authored by Janine Hiller and Matthew McMullen of Virginia Tech and Wade Chumney of Georgia Tech. The paper will be published in a forthcoming issue of  Boston University Journal of Science and Technology Law.

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