A recent survey of 1095 consumers, conducted by IDC's Health Industry Insights, reveals a significant number of respondents (70 percent) are unaware of the U.S. government's initiative to make electronic health records (EHRs) available to citizens by 2014. Respondents, regardless of their level of awareness, are divided when asked if the government will meet this goal, with 45 percent confident and 43 percent not confident.

"Consumers are both unaware of this Federal initiative and skeptical of the value proposition associated with digital health care," says Marc Holland, program director of Healthcare Provider Research at Health Industry Insights and author of the report. "It's clear that those involved in these efforts to improve health care service delivery - government, providers, vendors, etc. - are being called upon by consumers to clearly demonstrate and effectively publicize evidence that they are making tangible progress and addressing consumer concerns related to privacy and confidentiality."

Additional survey results find:

  • A majority of respondents (86 percent) are somewhat or very concerned about the health industry's ability to protect the privacy of personal health information in deploying EHRs.
  • Consumers rank overcoming privacy/security (44 percent) as the top challenge in meeting the 2014 goal, followed by complexity and cooperation within the health care industry (24 percent).
  • While a majority of consumers believe that electronic medical records (EMRs) and EHRs will favorably impact the quality of care received from primary care providers, less than half (33 percent) believe it will materially reduce the cost of care.

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