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Data Brief: Most Patients Don’t Access their Record

September 15, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health (ONC) released a data brief this week that shows the long road ahead providers face in getting patients to access their record electronically.

Using the “2013 Consumer Survey of Attitudes Toward the Privacy and Security Aspects of Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchange,” ONC revealed that 72 percent of patients have not been offered access to their online medical record. Less than 10 percent of patients surveyed were given access to their medical record online via their insurer. Of the 28 percent that did get that offer, more than half did not access the record. All told, less than 15 percent of patients have accessed their record online.

A whopping 74 percent of those who did not access their record online but were offered said they didn’t feel a need to do so. This was the major reason that most patients didn’t access their record online, even when offered. Twenty-eight percent were concerned about privacy and 23 percent didn’t have a way to access the internet.

Despite the low numbers of overall access, 69 percent said they consider having online access to their records important. Even those who were offered but didn’t access their record online (62 percent) said it was important.

Of those who did access their record online, 73 percent used it to monitor their health, 44 percent used it to share information with someone else, 39 percent used it to download it to a computer or mobile device, and 10 percent requested an error be fixed. Those who did it use it mostly found it to be useful (60 percent) or somewhat useful (28 percent). Only seven percent of those who accessed their data found it to be useless.

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