With the high visibility and investment in implementing electronic health records (EHR) these days, it’s easy to forget that society’s readiness to adopt technology is uneven at best. A recent Harris poll of U.S. consumers conducted by Xerox brings this into sharp focus:
- Only 40% believe that digital medical records will improve their healthcare
- Only 26% want digital medical records
- 85% expressed concern about digital medical records
Let’s be clear: there is no stopping the adoption of EHR by the healthcare industry. There are clear efficiency, accuracy and comprehensive care benefits that will reduce costs and improve overall care. The U.S. government is using incentives and penalties to accelerate this changeover.
How do healthcare providers bring their patients along for the ride with EHR?
One important way is to deliver medical records with CDs instead of paper. This helps both providers and patients in several ways.
- Healthcare providers dramatically reduce the costs of distributing digital records (from hundreds or thousands of printed pages to one burned disc in some cases)
- Patients continue to receive their records in a physical form that they can hold and store at home, in ways not that different than previous paper records
Healthcare providers can essentially put a patient-friendly output on the edge of their digital medical records infrastructure. They realize all of the structural benefits of the EHR revolution, while responding to the very real resistance of their patient base to change.
Society’s comfort with technology will continue to evolve as generations change. In the meantime, distributing patient records via optical discs is an effective coping mechanism for mainstream medical patients.