Vendor Practice Fusion: Consumers want fast access to their medical records

Maybe consumers are more savvy about health information than many pundits give them credit for. Of all their concerns about medical records, the most prevalent is being able to access their own records when needed, according to a GfK Roper survey conducted on behalf of San Francisco-based EMR developer Practice Fusion.

Of the 1,002 adults surveyed earlier this month--an equal split of men and women--27.6 percent said they worry most about not being able to access their records in a timely manner. HIPAA requires healthcare providers to honor patient request to see their own health data within 30 days for records stored on site and 60 days for information stored elsewhere, regardless if the data are on paper or electronic. But the standards for "meaningful use" of EMRs will require physician practices and hospitals to provide electronic copies within three business days of a patient request if the provider wants to earn Medicare or Medicaid bonus payments for EMR usage.

"The message is clear: patients want access to their medical records, and they want it now," Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard says in a press release. (Practice Fusion takes the opportunity to note that its free, web-based, advertising-supported ambulatory EMR includes a portal so practices can offer patients immediate access to their records.)

The No. 2 concern among consumers in the GfK Roper poll, named by 19.2 of respondents, is that records will contain inaccuracies or outdated information. A surprisingly low 16 percent fear that their records could be stolen or used fraudulently, while 13.1 percent expressed concern that their records could be lost or accidentally destroyed. While Practice Fusion doesn't explicitly say so, Healthcare IT News reports that survey participants were asked about paper medical records.

For more data:
- see this Practice Fusion press release
- read this Healthcare IT News story