Background: Health information exchange (HIE), the electronic transmission of patient medical information across healthcare institutions, is on the forefront of the national agenda for healthcare reform. As healthcare consumers are critical participants in HIE, understanding their attitudes toward HIE is essential.
Objective: To determine healthcare consumers' attitudes toward physician and personal use of HIE, and factors associated with their attitudes.
Design: Cross-sectional telephone survey.
Participants: English-speaking residents of the Hudson Valley of New York.
Main measure: Consumer reported attitudes towards HIE.
Key results: Of 199 eligible residents contacted, 170 (85%) completed the survey: 67% supported physician HIE use and 58% reported interest in using HIE themselves. Multivariate analysis suggested supporters of physician HIE were more likely to be caregivers for chronically ill individuals (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.06, 19.6), earn more than $100,000 yearly (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.2, 10.0), and believe physician HIE would improve the privacy and security of their medical records (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.05, 7.9). Respondents interested in using personal HIE were less likely to be female (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.1, 0.98), and more likely to be frequent Internet-users (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.03, 10.6), feel communication among their physicians was inadequate (OR 6.7, 95% CI 1.7, 25.3), and believe personal HIE use would improve communication with their physicians (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.7, 12.8).
Conclusions: Consumer outreach to gain further support for ongoing personal and physician HIE efforts is needed and should address consumer security concerns and potential disparities in HIE acceptance and use.