AHA: Most hospitals offer patients access to their EHRs

Hospitals are doing a better job than ever of providing patients with the ability to access their electronic records, according to a new report from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Almost all hospitals (92 percent) offered patients the ability to view their EHRs in 2015, up from 43 percent in 2013. Eighty-four percent allowed patients to download data from their EHR, up from 30 percent in 2013, while more than two-thirds (70 percent) allowed an electronic referral summary to be sent to a third party, an increase from 13 percent in 2013. 

Additionally, 63 percent of hospitals had the capability to enable patients to message their providers online, an increase of eight percentage points from 2014. Thirty-seven percent were able to let consumers submit patient-generated data to the hospital, up from 14 percent in 2013.

More hospitals also enabled patients to perform other tasks electronically. Almost three-fourths (74 percent) allowed patients to pay bills online, up from 56 percent in 2013. Forty-five percent of hospitals offered patients the ability to schedule appointments online, an increase from 31 percent in 2013. And 44 percent could allow patients to refill prescriptions electronically, up from 30 percent in 2013.

“Patients ... have a growing ability to interact with their providers and to perform routine tasks online," the report notes. "As more hospitals are able to offer these services, individuals will have more insight into their medical data and the ability to interact with care providers at times and in ways that are convenient for the patient."

Nowhere does the report mention the Meaningful Use incentive program or that the program requires hospitals to offer most of this access to patients if they’re to avoid monetary penalties. It also doesn’t mention that HIPAA requires hospitals to provide patients with access to their records.

To learn more:
- read the report

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