Consumer perceptions of electronic health information exchange

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Jul;43(1):76-80. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.02.027.


Background: Public support will be critical to the success and long-term sustainability of electronic health information exchange (HIE) initiatives currently promoted by federal policy.

Purpose: The goal of this study was to assess consumer perceptions of HIE in a state (New York) with a 6-year history of successful HIE organizations.

Methods: The Empire State Poll is a random-digit-dial telephone survey of adult New York State residents conducted annually by the Survey Research Institute at Cornell University. In 2011, it contained 77 items.

Results: The survey was conducted and data were analyzed in 2011. Eight hundred respondents participated (71% response rate). Large majorities supported HIE among healthcare providers (69%); thought it would improve quality of care (68%); and supported "break the glass" access to HIE data without need for consent in emergencies (90%). Support was lower among people who rated large corporations as less trustworthy. Privacy and security concerns were expressed by 68%. Respondents were supportive whether the architecture involved a physician sending data to another physician, a physician sending data to a patient who could send it to other physicians, or a physician accessing data from other institutions.

Conclusions: In New York, public support for HIE is strong. Policy and outreach pertaining to this type of exchange may be most effective if it clarifies the roles and responsibilities of large businesses involved in different aspects of the exchange, and privacy and security controls. Differing architectures received similar levels of support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York
  • Public Opinion*