Getting Patients Comfortable with EMRs

Posted on August 10, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Sometimes I feel as if the healthcare industry head honchos from every vertical get together once a month and determine when and how they’ll put out major press announcements. Sometimes they just seem so well timed. Take, for example, the release of a new video from the ONC’s HealthIT.gov website, “Health IT For You: Giving You Access to Your Medical Records.”

I really like the style of animation, and the incorporation of mobile devices like tablets into the video. My favorite line: “It’s time healthcare caught up to the way we live the rest of our lives.” So true! (Pretty clever of them to put a billboard for HealthIT.gov on the side of a bus that drives by.) Overall, it’s well done, short and simple enough to get the point across to patients that may be in waiting rooms. I hope that providers will think to incorporate it into their digital communications as well, and that the ONC will consider putting one out in Spanish.

If you have the nearly 3 minutes it takes to watch the video, you’ll notice the “padlock” image that appears over every transmittal of patient-to-doctor data, symbolizing that the information is secure, and presumably HIPAA-compliant.

Which brings me to that PR synchronicity I mentioned above. Results from a Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of the Breakaway Group, released around the same time as the video, found that “[b]arely a quarter of U.S. adults want medical records converted from paper to electronic, and 85% of the public [surveyed] expressed concerns about electronic health records.” Some of those surveyed cited concerns over privacy – thus, I suppose, inclusion of the “padlock” images in the ONC video.

This small swirl of press around patient engagement – a hot topic in healthcare at any time these days – serves to reemphasize the need for continued focus on patients’ knowledge of and reaction to electronic medical records. What with all sorts of ancillary reports coming out about physician adoption of, happiness with and resignation to this technology, it’s important to realize that it is the patient that should ultimately benefit – in a variety of ways – from the implementation.