ONC: Most hospitals offer patients access to their electronic records

EHR patient

Photo credit: Getty/pandpstock001

There has been a “significant” increase in the percentage of hospitals that provide patients with the ability to view, download and/or transmit data in their electronic health records, according to statistics shared this week by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The rate of U.S. nonfederal acute care hospitals that enable a patient to view his/her records has jumped from 24 percent in 2012 to 95 percent in 2015, a new data brief reveals. The percentage of hospitals that enable patients to view, download and transmit grew almost seven-fold between 2013 and 2015, from 10 percent to 69 percent. Moreover, in 2013 no states had 40 percent or more of their hospitals providing view, download and transmit capability; by 2015, all states boasted 40 percent or more of their hospitals doing so.

The number and variety of other patient engagement functionalities also continues to rise.  For example, the percentage of patients who could submit patient-generated data increased from 13 percent in 2013 to 37 percent in 2015. The percentage who could pay their bills electronically rose from 55 percent in 2013 to 74 percent in 2015.

However, small, medium and critical access hospitals still lagged behind large hospitals in their ability to provide these features.

In a related blog post, Talisha Searcy, director of research and evaluation for ONC’s office of planning, evaluation and analysis, and Lana Moriarty, director, office of consumer eHealth for ONC’s office of programs and engagement, noted that these were “dramatic” increases and part of a greater effort to enable the rights of individuals to get and use their information. They also pointed out recent guidance shared by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and other initiatives to increase this patient engagement.

“ONC continues to work with health IT developers, individuals, and clinicians alike to keep the momentum going when it comes to patient access to health information where and when it is needed most,” Searcy and Moriarty said.

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