Electronic Medical Records and Public Perceptions: A Deliberative Process

Electronic Medical Records and Public Perceptions: A Deliberative Process

Tarik Abdel-Monem (University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, USA), Mitchel N. Herian (University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, USA) and Nancy Shank (University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8358-7.ch102


Public attitudes about electronic medical records (EMRs) have been primarily gauged by one-time opinion polls. The authors investigated the impact of an interactive deliberative polling process on general attitudes towards EMRs and perceptions of governmental roles in the area. An initial online survey was conducted about EMRs among a sample of respondents (n = 138), and then surveyed a sub-sample after they had engaged in a deliberative discussion about EMR issues with peers and policymakers (n = 24). Significant changes in opinions about EMRs and governmental roles were found following the deliberative discussion. Overall support for EMRs increased significantly, although concerns about security and confidentiality remained. This indicates that one way to address concerns about EMRs is to provide opportunities for deliberation with policymakers. The policy and theoretical implications of these findings are briefly discussed within.
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Public Views On Electronic Medical Records

There are conflicting definitions for what constitutes an EMR (National Alliance for Health Information Technology, 2008). For purposes of using consistent terminology that would be familiar to the public, we used the term EMR to mean patient-centered medical information that can be shared electronically between hospitals, clinics, physician offices, or other healthcare delivery locations.2 A basic EMR includes a patient’s history and demographics, patient problem list, physician clinical notes, comprehensive list of patient’s medications and allergies, computerized orders for prescriptions, and ability to view laboratory and imaging results electronically (Hsiao, Socey, & Cai 2011). The use of EMRs has been increasing in recent years (Wright, 2012). In 2011, 57% of office-based physicians reported that they use all or partial EMR systems: a 12% increase from 2010 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, 2011). Hospital adoption of EHRs systems has doubled since 2009 to 34.8% (Charles, Furukawa, & Hufstader, 2012) although only a small percentage report having comprehensive electronic records systems (Jha et al., 2009).

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