Healthcare News & Insights

5 benefits of giving patients access to their own EHR

As hospitals start adopting electronic records or switch to new EHR systems, here’s a feature recent research says it may pay to include: 

laptop-typingOnline portals that give patients access to their own records.

While most doctors agree healthcare providers should share some information with patients, they also believe patient access to EHR should be limited, according a study from Accenture.

Among the 3,700 physicians surveyed, 82% said they want patients to update their own EHR. Those doctors believe patients and providers can both benefit if patients have the opportunity to update data such as:

  • demographic information
  • family medical history
  • medications
  • allergies
  • new symptoms, and
  • self-measured metrics, like blood pressure and glucose levels.

However, just 31% think patients should have access to their full EHR, and most doctors want limits regarding what information patients can edit on their own.

Patients report benefits

Providers that have been holding back on implementing patient portals to share records may want to think again.

Giving patients full access to their EHR can increase people’s engagement in their care and improve the overall patient experience, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Researchers interviewed 30 patients participating in the My HealtheVet Pilot program at the Portland (OR) Veterans Administration Medical Center. Those patients were given access to their complete EHR, including clinical notes and test results.

Some of the positive outcomes reported in the study included:

  1. The patients felt they were more aware about their own conditions and better prepared for visits with their doctors because they could review their records beforehand
  2. Seeing their health information in writing made patients feel more motivated to improve self-care and helped their decision making about what additional care was required
  3. Patients appreciated being able to look at their records in case they forgot something the doctor said
  4. Patients said checking their own records made it easier to remember when it was time to schedule a follow-up appointment, and
  5. Sharing records with other providers was easier for patients when they had access to the records themselves.

Caution may be needed

Some doctors may need to be more careful about what they write if patients are going to be given full access to those records.

Patients in the study only felt negative about being given access to their records during cases in which the doctor wrote something derogatory, included information that hadn’t been told to the patient previously or was inconsistent with previous information.

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