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Keywords:

  • electronic health records;
  • electronic medical records;
  • public engagement;
  • public participation;
  • trust in government

Abstract

Background

This paper presents results from a public engagement effort in Nebraska, USA, which measured public opinions about governmental involvement in encouraging the use of electronic health records (EHRs).

Objective

We examine the role of trust in government in contributing to public support for government involvement in the development of EHR technologies. We hypothesize that trust in government will lead to support for federal and state governmental encouragement of the use of EHRs among doctors and insurance companies. Further, because individual experiences with health-care professionals will reduce perceptions of risk, we expect that support for governmental involvement will be tempered by greater personal experience with the health-care industry.

Design and Results

Examining a small survey of individuals on the issue, we find general support for both of our hypotheses. The findings suggest that trust in government does have a positive relationship with support for government involvement in the policy domain, but that the frequency of personal experiences with health-care providers reduces the extent to which the public supports governmental involvement in the development of EHR technology.

Discussion and Conclusion

This inquiry contributes to our understanding of public attitudes towards government involvement in EHRs in the United States specifically and contributes to social science examining links between trust in government and support for governmental activity in the emerging policy domain regarding electronic health records systems.