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Most Docs Don’t Believe in Full Patient Access to the EHR

April 5, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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A new survey by the Arlingont, Va.-based consulting firm Accenture suggests that even though most U.S. doctors (82 percent) would like patients to participate in their own healthcare by updating their electronic health record (EHR), they don’t support full patient access to the EHR. Of those surveyed, 3,700 doctors across eight countries, only 31 percent believe a patient should have full access to his or her own record.

While doctors supported patients updating the standard information in their record such as demographics (95 percent), family medical history (88 percent), medications (87 percent), and allergies (85 percent), nearly half of U.S. doctors (47 percent) surveyed believe patients should not be able to update their lab test results. Eighty-one percent, however, says patients should even be able to add such clinical updates to their records as new symptoms or self-measured metrics, including blood pressure and glucose levels.

“Many physicians believe that patients should take an active role in managing their own health information, because it fosters personal responsibility and ownership and enables both the patient and doctor to track progress outside scheduled appointments,” Mark Knickrehm, global managing director of Accenture Health, said in a statement. “Several U.S. health systems have proven that the benefits outweigh the risks in allowing patients open access to their health records, and we expect this trend to continue.”  

This type of sentiment was discussed in a recent HCI podcast with Paul Keckley, Ph.D., executive director for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Keckley talked about a recent report from Deloitte on physicians’ overall attitude towards the medical profession, healthcare reform, and a number of other pertinent topics. According to Keckley, many doctors still have a paternalistic viewpoint towards patients and why the notion of consumerism in healthcare “rubs them the wrong way.”

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