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A small majority of 519 individuals polled reported that they are willing to pay at least $5 a month to have their health records kept on-line. The survey, conducted by consulting and technology services firm Accenture, found that 93% expect electronic medical records (EMRs) to enhance the quality of care, and almost as many said that EMRs would lower hospital errors.
Of the respondents, 75% believed that EMRs could lower health care costs overall, and about the same percentage thought that patients would have less wait time in physicians' offices and emergency rooms. The survey also showed that 54% of the respondents were concerned about privacy and the security of their paper medical records, and the same number said that they felt EMRs are a more secure alternative.
Officials of the polling firm were surprised by the support for EMRs. Manuel Lowenhaupt,MD, a partner in Accenture's health and life sciences practice, said the survey demonstrated that patients are sophisticated about the technology and enthusiastic about it. He said that patient acceptance would be "an essential ingredient for success" as the nation proceeds to reduce paperwork in health care.