Electronic Medical Records' Risks Feared

Article excerpt

Despite a strong push by President Bush for the majority of Americans to have computerized medical records within 10 years, Americans are not sure they want the attending privacy risks.

According to David Brailer, appointed by Bush to coordinate the move to electronic medical records (EMR), there are many challenges to implementing a nationwide system, such as ensuring privacy and security so that only those with patient consent have access to the records.

The U.S. public is concerned about these risks, too. According to a recent Harris Interactive study, U.S. adults are divided right down the middle on whether the potential privacy risks associated with an EMR system outweigh the expected benefits to patients and society.

Half of U.S. adults--48 percent--said the benefits of an EMR system to patients and society outweigh the privacy risks, but 47 percent said the privacy risks are not worth the anticipated benefits. Four percent said they were not sure. Between 62 and 70 percent of those surveyed expressed concern about the following:

* Sensitive health information might leak because of weak data security. …