UWM research shows electronic record keeping may deter patients from sharing information

Patients whose doctors kept records in an electronic format were more likely to withhold medical history and information from their health care provider than patients whose doctors kept paper records, according to new research by a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor.

Assistant sociology professor Celeste Campos-Castillo’s findings, which were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, suggests that patients could be worried about the privacy and security of their medical information if their doctors stored that information in electronic files. The correlation takes into account patients’ satisfaction with their health care providers and other factors that could impact patients’ perception of their doctors.

“Any time we find reasons underlying why individuals withhold information from their doctor, we should be concerned,” Campos-Castillo said. “That means that their medical record isn’t going to be complete. When that medical record is shared with a subsequent doctor or that same doctor looks at that medical record for the same patient, they won’t have the full medical history of that patient, and that can negatively impact the care that the patient receives.”

She concluded that although a doctor’s use of electronic health records may prevent some patients from disclosing medical information, the advantages provided by electronic health records still outweigh the drawbacks. 

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