Patients would switch docs to get EHR access

Most Americans want full access to their electronic health records, and an increasing number would be willing to give up their current physicians for that opportunity, according to a new study from consulting firm Accenture.

The study of 9,100 patients in nine countries found that 84 percent of Americans believe that they should have full access to their EHRs, even though only one-third (36 percent) of physicians shared this view. Fully, 41 percent of American patients would be willing to switch doctors to gain access to their records.

While only one-third (36 percent) of Americans currently have full access to their EHRs, more than half (57 percent) self-track some of their health information electronically anyway, such as their health history, physical activity or weight.

"When consumers are part of the record-keeping process, it can increase their understanding of conditions, improve motivation and serve as a clear differentiator for clinical care," Kaveh Safavi, M.D., managing director of Accenture's North American Health Business said in an announcement.

Interestingly, two-thirds of physicians (65 percent) said that patients should have only limited access to their EHRs. The survey doesn't indicate what part of the EHRs the doctors believe should be off-limits. Meanwhile, four percent of doctors said that patients should be entirely barred from seeing their records.

The survey mirrors other recent studies which have found that patients who access their EHRs are more satisfied with their doctors and believed that the access improved communication and care coordination. Patient engagement is a cornerstone of Stages 2 and 3 of the Meaningful Use incentive program.

To learn more:
- read the announcement