Nearly 75 percent of American adults surveyed believe it is very important that their critical health information should be easily shared between physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers, according to a survey released by the Society of Participatory Medicine and conducted by ORC International.

The survey also revealed that 87 percent of respondents are overwhelmingly against any fees being charged to either healthcare providers or patients for the transfer of critical health information. However, nearly 20 percent of those surveyed felt that they, or a family member, experienced a problem receiving medical care because their health records could not be shared between different healthcare providers.

Also See: Blue Button Awareness, Personal Health Record Usage Grows

“What this survey points out is that when critical health information can’t be shared across medical practices and hospitals, patients are put at risk,” said Daniel Z. Sands, M.D., co-founder and co-chair of the Society of Participatory Medicine.

The survey results, based on a random sample of 1,011 people, add another element to the ongoing debate roiling the healthcare system over how much, if anything, electronic health records vendors should charge to enable interoperability between discrete records systems. Possible solutions to the ongoing problem of achieving interoperability include suggestions from policy analysts that HITECH payments should be halted, thereby forcing a market-based correction mechanism, and legislation recently introduced in Congress that would compel records systems to achieve functional interoperability or risk de-certification.

“We have the technology," Sands said. "What we need is for healthcare providers and systems developers to put patient interests ahead of business needs. None of them would exist were it not for the patients.”

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