AHA: Patients’ Ability to Electronically Access Their Medical Records is Increasing | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

AHA: Patients’ Ability to Electronically Access Their Medical Records is Increasing

July 15, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

More than 90 percent of hospitals now offer patients the capability to view electronic medical records (EMRs) online, and most offer the ability to perform related tasks, according to new research from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The data, from the 2015 AHA Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement, which last month publicized several trends related to hospital data exchange, further revealed that now, with the adoption of EMRs, many more hospitals are offering individuals online access to their medical records. Indeed, in 2015, 92 percent of hospitals offered the ability to view medical records, compared to 43 percent of hospitals in 2013. What’s more, 84 percent of hospitals allowed patients to download information from their medical record, up from 30 percent of hospitals in 2013; and 70 percent of hospitals allowed a referral summary to be sent to a third party; only 13 percent of hospitals offered this function in 2013.

Hospitals also are able, in many cases, to offer patients the ability to perform everyday healthcare tasks online, according to the AHA report. These capabilities include the ability to schedule appointments, order prescription refills and submit payment. Offering these functions can be complex, as it integrates data from other areas within the hospital, such as scheduling, pharmacy and revenue cycle systems, which may not be easy to connect, the report authors noted. So as hospitals invest in solutions to allow online collaboration between units, the ability to offer these services will likely continue to expand, they predict. In 2015: 74 percent of hospitals provided the capability of paying bills online, up from 56 percent in 2013; 45 percent of hospitals allowed patients to schedule appointments online, in comparison to 31 percent in 2013; 44 percent of hospitals were able to allow patients to refill prescriptions online; 30 percent of patients could order refills in 2013.

Further, the ability for individuals to communicate online with providers continues to expand, the data showed. Between in-person visits, patients may have questions for providers that would otherwise require a phone call or another visit to the office. However, a growing number of hospitals now provide an additional way for patients to communicate with their care providers between visits. In 2015, 63 percent of hospitals allowed patients to message their providers online, an increase of 8 percentage points from 2014.

A smaller, but increasing, percentage of hospitals allow their patients to submit patient-generated data to their provider online, which can help physicians monitor and evaluate the patient’s condition between visits. Thirty-seven percent of hospitals provided the ability for patients to submit data in 2015, a significant increase from 14 percent of hospitals in 2013.

The AHA report’s authors conclude, “Hospitals are offering individuals more electronic access to their medical information than ever before. Patients also have a growing ability to interact with their providers and to perform routine tasks online. As more hospitals are able to offer these services, individuals will have more insight into their medical data and the ability to interact with care providers at times and in ways that are convenient for the patient.”

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Adam Boehler Tapped by Azar to Serve as Senior Value-Based Care Advisor

Adam Boehler, currently director of CMMI, has also been named the senior advisor for value-based transformation and innovation, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced.

Vivli Launches Clinical Research Data-Sharing Platform

On July 19 a new global data-sharing and analytics platform called Vivli was unveiled. The nonprofit group’s mission is to promote, coordinate and facilitate scientific sharing and reuse of clinical research data.

Survey: More Effective IT Needed to Improve Patient Safety

In a Health Catalyst survey, physicians, nurses and healthcare executives said ineffective information technology, and the lack of real-time warnings for possible harm events, are key obstacles to achieving their organizations' patient safety goals.

Physicians Still Reluctant to Embrace Virtual Tech, Survey Finds

While consumers and physicians agree that virtual healthcare holds great promise for transforming care delivery, physicians still remain reluctant to embrace the technologies, according to a new Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey.

Geisinger, AstraZeneca Partner on Asthma App Suite

Geisinger has partnered with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to create a suite of products that integrate into the electronic health record and engage asthma patients and their providers in co-managing the disease.

Analysis: Healthcare Ransomware Attacks Decline in First Half of 2018

In the first half of 2018, ransomware events in major healthcare data breaches diminished substantially compared to the same time period last year, as cyber attackers move on to more profitable activities, such as cryptojacking, according to a new report form cybersecurity firm Cryptonite.