Surveying Consumers on EHR PrivacyFive Annual Polls Will Measure Attitudes
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT plans to survey 2,000 Americans annually starting in 2012. ONC, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services, coordinates the HITECH Act's electronic health record incentive program and also oversees HITECH funding for statewide HIEs.
The computer-assisted telephone surveys will look at "the percentage of individuals who are concerned about the privacy and security of electronic health records, who report having kept any part of their medical history from their doctor due to privacy concerns and who are concerned that an unauthorized person would see their medical information if it is sent electronically, among other key issues," according to a Federal Register announcement. Results will be analyzed to track changes in consumer attitudes over time as EHRs and HIEs become more pervasive.
The surveys will help support ONC's ongoing efforts to "inspire confidence and trust in health IT," according to the announcement.
"The proposed information collection will permit us to better understand individuals' attitudes toward the privacy and security aspects of the use of electronic health records and electronic information exchange as well as inform policy and programmatic objectives," the announcement states.
ONC also has announced plans to launch a public relations campaign to educate consumers about the privacy and security of electronically exchanged healthcare information. Plus it plans to conduct consumer research on the public's attitudes on the use of mobile devices to exchange healthcare data (see: Privacy PR Campaign to Address Mobility).