Doctors Want Patients To Update, But Not Have Full Access To EMRs

Posted on March 12, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

So, it seems that doctors are willing to open up the kimono, but only so far. A new Accenture study has concluded that while most U.S. doctors surveyed are ready to have patients update their electronic health record, only a minority believe patients should have access to their full record.

Accenture, which announced these results last week at HIMSS, did an eight-country survey of 3,700 doctors cutting across Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the U.S.

When it came to U.S. doctors, 82 percent reported that they were comfortable having patients update their own EMR data. But when asked, less than a third (31 percent) felt that patients should have access to their full record. Sixty-five percent felt that  patients should have limited access and 4 percent no access at all.  (Interestingly, the results were similar across all eight countries, Accenture reports.)

Breaking things down further, while almost half (47 percent) of U.S. doctors surveyed felt that patients should not be able to update their lab results, most said patients should be able to update several types of information, including:

* Demographics (95 percent)
* Family medical history (88 percent)
* Medications (87 percent)
* Allergies (85 percent)

Most doctors (81 percent) also believe patients should be able to add clinical updates to records, specifically self-measured items like glucose and blood pressure levels or new symptoms.

On the other hand, only 21 percent of doctors surveyed currently allow patients to have online access to their medical summary or patient chart, despite the fact that 49 percent believe that giving patients access to their records is crucial to providing effective care, Accenture said.