2011 was a challenging year for healthcare IT professionals. Providers rolled out electronic health record systems to qualify for the government's Meaningful Use financial incentives. Meanwhile, mobile health apps took off, e-prescribing increased, health info exchanges got a start, and some organizations suffered data breaches. On the plus side, more health IT jobs became available.
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Though doctors warmed up to electronic health record (EHR) systems in 2011, many consumers remained wary of digitized health data. For instance, an October 2011 survey by EHR vendor Practice Fusion indicated that, by a slight margin, the majority of doctors think EHRs are safer than paper records. But more than half of all patients prefer paper.
The survey was conducted for Practice Fusion by GfK Roper OmniTel. More than 1,000 patients were phone surveyed and 1,220 medical professionals were polled online with the same questions.
Of the physicians surveyed, 54% said they thought EHRs were safer. Only 18% selected paper as the more-secure option. The remainder didn't answer or didn't know. As for the patients surveyed, 47% said paper records are safer, with 39% saying digital records are more secure. The rest were unsure.
Meanwhile, perhaps reflecting a lack of clarity or disappointment with previous attempts to find what they're looking for, consumers seem to be losing their enthusiasm for seeking out health information, a new report suggests.
According to research by the Center for Studying Health Systems Change, half of all U.S. adults in 2011 looked for information about personal health issues from sources other than their doctor within the previous 12 months. That is down from 55.5% in 2007, but still higher than the 38.8% recorded in a 2001 survey, the Washington-based, nonpartisan research organization reported.
In a sign that patients are lukewarm to managing their own digital health records, Google Health at the end of 2011 closed its online personal health record site in large part due to disappointing consumer interest in the portal.
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