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    Federal Health IT Office to Conduct 5-Year Survey on Privacy, Security of Medical Records

    The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced (pdf) in the Federal Register that it plans to conduct a nationwide “Consumer Survey of Attitudes Toward the Privacy and Security Aspects of  Electronic Health Records and Electronic Health Information Exchange.”

    The widespread use of electronic health records and electronic health information exchange promises an array of potential benefits for individuals and the U.S. health care system through improved health care quality, safety, and efficiency. At the same time, this environment poses new challenges and opportunities for protecting health information. The proposed information collection will permit us to better understand individuals’ attitudes toward the privacy and security aspects of the use of electronic health records and electronic health information exchange as well as inform policy and programmatic objectives.

    The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is proposing to conduct a nationwide survey which will use computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) to interview a representative sample of the general population annually for 5 years looking at the percentage of individuals who are concerned about the privacy and security of electronic health records, who report having kept any part of their medical history from their doctor due to privacy concerns, and who are concerned that an unauthorized person would see their medical information if it is sent electronically, among other key measures. ONC will assess whether these numbers increase, remain steady or decrease from 2012 (pre-implementation) to 2016 (post-implementation) in support of the ONC Coordinated Federal Health IT Strategic Plan to engage consumers and inspire confidence and trust in health IT.

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