Healthcare News & Insights

Should patients have access to their own EHRs?

As more hospitals adopt EHRs, doctors and other medical professionals have differing opinions over how much access patients should have to their electronic records. 

emrOne step some providers are taking after they transition to electronic health records (EHRs) is giving patients access to online portals where they can view and edit their records. Not only does make that make it easier for patients to get information when they need it without making an office visit, it can also help make patients more involved in their own care.

But while there are benefits, many doctors are also worried about giving patients too much access to their electronic records, according to a recent survey from Accenture.

Among the 3,700 physicians surveyed, 82% said they want patients to update their own EHRs. 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, doctors also want limits regarding what information patients can edit on their own. For example, 47% say patients should not be allowed to add or edit lab test results.

In addition, just 31% think patients should have access to their full EHR. The majority said patients should be allowed to view certain parts of their electronic records, while just 4% say patients should have no EHR access.

Self-service EHR access lagging

Although doctors see the benefits of giving patients access to EHRs, most of them have yet to do so. In fact, just 21% of doctors let patients view their patient chart or medical summary, which are the most basic parts of a patient’s record, according to Accenture.

By offering greater online access to electronic records, hospitals can help improve care and decrease costs. It will also likely increase patient satisfaction, as the majority of patients say they’d like access to online self-service portals, according to an earlier Accenture survey.

The majority (83%) said they’d like to view their own medical information online. In addition, the 1,100 patients surveyed said they want:

  • email reminders when it’s time to schedule an appointment (88%)
  • the opportunity to request prescription refills using a smartphone (73%). and
  • the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online (72%).

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  1. JEngdahlJ says:

    Business intelligence can help hospitals get a better return on investment for their electronic health records.

  2. What’s the point of setting up a portal that will not let patients see results, send non urgent messages, or see our records? The answer is- there is no point, we’ll just come in and ask for the same exact stuff which we are, by law, allowed to see. Don’t want your patient accessing lab results when they KNOW that the results are available? Too bad, I’ll go to LabCorp. I see many doctors, some have great portals and if they ask me to wait before I view them (or at least don’t freak if my ANC is below normal by a couple of points), I would honor this request, I trust this doctor! But when practices hide my results, then don’t call, I opt out of their portal…. what use is it for me then except to question trust and become irritated.

    The days when our records were kept secret by MDs are OVER! Get used to it.

    I’m a trucker with rheumatoid arthritis. When my 2006 tractor which was paid off became illegal to run in California because of emissions I didn’t moan over the unfairness of it all and throw a tizzy about extra hours of service regulations.

    I pulled my socks up, quit whining, and invested in a brand new tractor. I didn’t get the cheapest that would squeak by the new regs then complain when it didn’t perform…. duh. I had a truck built and spec’d for me and for my comfort, for where and how I like to run. Then I invested heavily in warranties so any issues were covered for the next 3-5 years or 300,000-500,000 miles.

    I’m sick, I need good doctors. But I’m about fed up with all the medical moaning and finger pointing that comes from health care these days.

    Providers- your not the only profession on the planet that has to adjust to changing rules and regulations, GROW UP!