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Many Physicians Are Willing to Use Patients’ Electronic Personal Health Records, but Doctors Differ by Location, Gender, and Practice

  • Publication: 
    Health Affairs
    Publication Date: 
    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Electronic personal health records could become important tools for patients to use in managing and monitoring their health information and communicating with clinicians. With the emergence of new products and federal incentives that might indirectly encourage greater use of personal health records, policy makers should understand the views of physicians on using these records. In a national survey of physicians in 2008–09, we found that although 64 percent have never used a patient’s electronic personal health record, 42 percent would be willing to try. Strikingly, rural physicians expressed much more willingness to use such records compared to urban or suburban physicians. Female physicians were significantly less willing to use these tools than their male peers (34 percent versus 46 percent). Physicians broadly have concerns about the impact on patients’ privacy, the accuracy of underlying data, their potential liability for tracking all of the information that might be entered into a personal health record, and the lack of payment to clinicians for using or reviewing these patient records.

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