It's time for our first ever Clarifying Health reader poll. We have some pretty strong opinions and we aren't afraid to write about them, but I realize that a lot of readers don't necessarily agree with everything we have to say. That's why we're going to try running polls periodically to let everyone have a voice.
I want to start by asking what you think about electronic medical records. To summarize the issue, it's commonly agreed that one of the most promising areas in which we can improve the price and effectiveness of care that doctors and hospitals provide patients would be to store all medical records on computers rather than in paper files. This would reduce errors (like sloppy handwriting or misplaced records) and it would potentially improve collaboration between doctors because it's much easier to share electronic data than endless sheets of paper.
On the other hand, many people aren't comfortable with the idea of their medical records being stored on computers, particularly if those computers can be accessed remotely. There are enough stories about hackers and identity theft that many people are happy with their personal information being stored using a good old-fashioned filing cabinet.
So what do you think? Are you afraid of hackers? Do you think that the risk is worth the reward?
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As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments.