Healthcare News & Insights

Electronic health records: Should patients have open access?

What’s your opinion when it comes to giving patients full access to their electronic health records? Is it a good idea or a disaster in the making?

It seems the majority (82%) of U.S. doctors think their patients should participate in the upkeep of their electronic health records. However, only 31% of the physicians surveyed think they should have full access to them, according to a new Accenture survey.

Most physicians (65%), in the eight-country survey of 3,700 physician, said they thought patients should have limited access to their electronic health records. The feeling was that patients who take an active role in helping to manage their personal health information are more invested in their health. Plus, they’re able to track their progress, along with their doctors, outside of their regular appointments.

Patient updates

The survey also revealed that the majority of the doctors believe patients should be allowed to update some or all of their standard information, which includes demographics (95%), family medical history (88%), medications (86%) and allergies (85%).

While you may think most of the doctors would be against patients adding clinical updates, such as new symptoms and things like blood pressure and glucose levels, they aren’t. Eight-one percent said they were OK with it. But what they weren’t OK with was patients updating their lab results. Forty-seven percent said it shouldn’t be allowed.

Risky move?

Allowing patients open access to their medical records does present some risks, but it appears from the survey the risks are outweighed by the benefits.

Nearly half of the doctors (49%) indicated that giving patients access to their records is vital if doctors are to provide more effective care.

The funny thing is that, currently, only 21% of the doctors in the survey allow patients to have online access to their medical summary or patient charts. Not surprising is the U.S. doctors were the biggest supporters of allowing patient to update more than the “standard information.”

But no matter what their opinions are on allowing patients access to their electronic medical records, more than half (53%) believe that electronic health records have improved the quality of patient care. And 83% say that within the next two years, electronic records will become integral to providing effective patient care.

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