American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Internet use, privacy worries top new survey

From the May 1998 ACP Observer, copyright 1998 by the American College of Physicians.

According to a new survey, information executives in health care are bullish on futuristic technologies like smartcards, but they remain concerned about keeping patient data confidential.

The survey, which was conducted by The Health Care Information and Management Systems Society and Hewlett-Packard, revealed the following:

  • As many as 87% of respondents use the Internet. The top uses are e-mail, clinical research and consumer education.
  • When it comes to concerns about the security of clinical data, 42% of respondents said they are most concerned about security breaches among their own employees ("curiousity seekers"), not outside hackers.
  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents use some sort of telemedicine application. The top areas for such applications are radiology, cardiology and internal medicine.
  • When asked to identify the top health technologies of the future, 26% identified Internet-based medical records, 18% identified remote diagnostic systems for patients at home, 17% identified smartcard technology and 9% identified automated pharmacies.
  • Just over a fifth (21%) of organizations expect to increase their information technology budgets by 50% or more, while 51% expect increases of 10% to 40%.

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