by, Chad Harris, group president, Xerox Healthcare Provider Solutions

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) make sharing health information from doctor to doctor, from doctor to patient, from doctor to insurance company – a faster, easier, and often more accurate process. Yet, for the third consecutive year, Xerox surveyed U.S. adults only to find that they have concerns about EHRs. In fact, this year’s survey found that only 26 percent of Americans want EHRs. Check out their reactions in the video below:

So, how do we move the needle? Make the benefits of EHRs easier to understand. Take the 2012 Olympics for example, for the first time in history EHRs will be used to help on-site doctors provide the highest level of care and support for the more than 500 U.S. Olympians. Think of how much easier that makes it – for an eternity, the process has been to pack up and ship out the physical (paper) health records and charts supporting these top athletes. This year, the athletes, their doctors, and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) can access and update medical information on the fly, though a records portal. In TIME article, Dr. Bill Moreau, managing director of sports medicine at the USOC, says “Every single encounter with a healthcare provider — whether it’s to provide an ice pack or a massage, chiropractic care or have their ankle taped — all of that should be recorded.” 

Dr. Moreau goes on to point out that using EHRs doesn’t just make patient care more effective, it also has the potential to improve medical care too. “We can now use analytics to track people who had ACL injuries, and say, this was how these people were rehabilitated, and they had spectacular recovery, while these people didn’t, and compare things that were done to develop clinical pathways to care,” he says. “We can start to identify best practices, and that’s really exciting.” This same thought process is not limited to just Olympians; it can be a reality in our everyday lives.

Stories like the one in TIME, showing how athletes benefit from EHRs helps demonstrate the value of EHRs in a way that is relatable for Americans – exactly what we need to increase comfort level and adoption. So when you, your friends, colleagues and family sit down to watch the Olympics, bring this topic up. They might appreciate gaining a newfound understanding of EHRs and the fact that the U.S. is pioneering the process in London and here at home. Oh, and #GOUSA!