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Survey: More than Half of Consumers Can’t Access Their Health Data Electronically

December 21, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

More than half (53 percent) of consumers say they can't access all of their health data from a computer, according to a recent HealthMine survey of more than 500 U.S. consumers.

With higher deductibles and rising healthcare costs, Americans rolling into their 2016 health plans will assume more responsibility for both the cost and control of their healthcare. As such, 74 percent of respondents said easy electronic access to health data would improve their knowledge of their health and improve communication with their physicians, according to the survey from the Dallas, Texas-based vendor that focuses on personal clinical engagement. Indeed, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule gives consumers, with few exceptions, the right to inspect, review, and receive a copy of their medical records and billing records that are held by health plans and healthcare providers covered under the rule.

Although most office-based physicians are now using an electronic medical record (EMR) system, EMRs are not delivering on their promise for American consumers, according to the survey. In fact, 60 percent of people say they are unsure, or do not have all of their health data stored in EMRs. What’s more, digital access to health data remains a struggle for many Americans; 30 percent of people say they have had trouble accessing their health data when they needed it:

  • 32 percent have had difficulty accessing their medical record
  • 31 percent have had difficulty accessing their biometric information
  • 29 percent have had difficulty accessing their lab record
  • 29 percent have had difficulty accessing their insurance information
  • 25 percent have had difficulty accessing their prescription history

Furthermore, 39 percent of consumers have not attempted to access their clinical health data from a mobile device. Previous research shows that 65 percent of Americans who don't have electronic access to their health information say it's important to have it. In fact, 80 percent of Americans who have access to their health information in electronic health records actually use it.

“We should be long beyond the days where one doctor holds the chart and we don't get to see it—but we're not,” Bryce Williams, CEO and president of HealthMine, said in a statement. He continued, "Sitting in the driver's seat of health requires transparency of health data. Consumers must be able to see the road, the potholes, the landmarks. Having access to complete health information is essential to managing health and healthcare dollars—and every consumer should have it."

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