Healthcare Consumers’ Attitudes Towards Physician and Personal Use of Health Information Exchange

  • Heather C. O’Donnell
  • Vaishali Patel
  • Lisa M. Kern
  • Yolanda Barrón
  • Paul Teixeira
  • Rina Dhopeshwarkar
  • Rainu Kaushal
Original Research



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.


To determine healthcare consumers’ attitudes toward physician and personal use of HIE, and factors associated with their attitudes.


Cross-sectional telephone survey.


English-speaking residents of the Hudson Valley of New York.


Consumer reported attitudes towards HIE.


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).


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.


consumers health information exchange personal health records medical informatics survey research 



The Taconic Independent Practice Association funded this work through a grant to Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. O’Donnell participated in this study as a fellow funded by the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College.


The authors would like to thank Rachel Block, Curt Cole, MD, Lori Evans, MPP, MPH, Ellen Flink, MBA, Gil Kuperman, MD, Akshay Kapur, Alex Low, Jason Shapiro, MD, and Adam Wilcox, PhD for their participation in the survey development workgroup. They would also like to thank Randolph Barrows Jr., MD, MS, John Blair, MD, Janlori Goldman, JD, and Art Levin for their input on the survey and Ken Griffin, PhD for his advice on survey methodology.

Conflicts of Interest

None disclosed.

Supplementary material

11606_2011_1733_MOESM1_ESM.doc (74 kb)
Online Appendix Appendix: Consumer Health Information Technology and Exchange Telephone Survey (DOC 73 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather C. O’Donnell
    • 1
  • Vaishali Patel
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lisa M. Kern
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yolanda Barrón
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paul Teixeira
    • 2
  • Rina Dhopeshwarkar
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rainu Kaushal
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsAlbert Einstein College of Medicine/Children’s Hospital at MontefioreBronxUSA
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Health Information Technology Evaluation Collaborative (HITEC)New YorkUSA
  4. 4.New York Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of MedicineWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

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