Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Canadian Attitudes to EHRs and Privacy

Canada Health Infoway, Health Canada and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada commissioned and have published a comprehensive survey of Canadian attitudes towards Electronic Health Records and Privacy titled Electronic Health Information and Privacy Survey: What Canadians Think - 2007.

From the Press Release:

Almost nine in 10 Canadians (88 per cent) support the development of EHRs -- a five per cent increase since 2003. Other findings include:
  • 31 per cent of respondents reported they had experience with an electronic health record during an interaction with the health care system. When asked to how the EHR system compared to the paper system in terms of overall effectiveness for the health care system, an overwhelming majority (89 per cent) said the electronic system was better.
  • 87 per cent of Canadians believe electronic health records will make diagnosis quicker and more accurate, while 82 per cent believe they will reduce prescription errors and 84 per cent would like to be able to access their own medical records online.
  • Canadians want to ensure that privacy and security safeguards are in place to protect their health information. 77 per cent would like audit trails that document access to their health information. 74 per cent want strong penalties for unauthorized access. 66 per cent of Canadians want clear privacy policies to protect their health information. In the event of a security breach, 7 in 10 want to be informed and would like procedures in place to respond to such breaches.
  • Those who have had experience with an electronic health record showed an even stronger support for privacy and security safeguards.
  • A majority of Canadians (55 per cent) would like to be able to hide or mask sensitive information contained in their record.
  • While the poll shows strong support (84 per cent) for using anonymous information from electronic records for health research, this support drops dramatically if personal details are not removed from the record (50 per cent).

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