Society: Give patients 'immediate' access to EHR data

The Society for Participatory Medicine (SPM) has expressed concern that proposed delays in allowing patients access to their EHR records under Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use EHR incentive program are "arbitrary" and will hurt patient care. 

In a comment letter submitted to CMS May 4, the SPM warned that the proposed four-day grace period between the time that eligible professionals obtain patient records and when they must provide access to the patient impedes the continuity of care--as does the proposal to give providers 36 hours to provide discharge information after a patient leaves the hospital.

"Information should be available to the patient and patients' designees as soon as it is available to any clinical user of the [certificated EHR technology] other than the author of the information itself," SPM said in its letter.

Using the mantra "nothing about me without me," the SPM also recommended, among other things, that the rule allow for some automation for the accessing and downloading data to increase the likelihood that patients will access their electronic records.

In contrast, The American Hospital Association requested in its comment letter that the 36 hour delay wasn't long enough; it asked CMS to give hospitals 30 days after a patient's discharge before having to provide discharge information to patients.

The AHA's position has been lambasted by some in the industry, including Deven McGraw, director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology and a member of ONC's HIT Policy Committee, who said hospitals shouldn't have the right to "hoard" information. 

To learn more:
- here's SPM's letter to CMS
- read its letter to ONC
- here's the AHA's comment letter
- read McGraw's blog post
- read the original rule

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