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Doctors: Patients should be able to update but not view full records


Physicians believe that patients should be able to update their electronic health records but should not be able to have full access to them, according to a new survey by Accenture.

Physicians believe that patients should be able to update their electronic health records but should not be able to have full access to them, according to a new survey by Accenture.

Eighty-two percent of U.S. respondents said they want patients to actively participate in their own healthcare by updating their records. Only a third of physicians (31%), however, believe that patients should have full access to their records; 65% believe that patients should have limited access, and 4% say they should have no access.

Study findings were consistent among 3,700 doctors surveyed by Accenture in eight countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain, and the United States.

Although nearly half of U.S. doctors (47%) surveyed believe that patients should not be able to update their lab test results, most believe that patients should be able to update some or all of the standard information in their health records, including demographics (95%), family medical history (88%), medications (87%) and allergies (85%). Also, the majority of doctors (81%) believe patients even should be able to add such clinical updates to their records as new symptoms or self-measured metrics, including blood pressure and glucose levels.

“Many physicians believe that patients should take an active role in managing their own health information, because it fosters personal responsibility and ownership and enables both the patient and doctor to track progress outside scheduled appointments,” said Mark Knickrehm, global managing director of Accenture Health. “Several U.S. health systems have proven that the benefits outweigh the risks in allowing patients open access to their health records, and we expect this trend to continue.”  

In fact, nearly half of doctors surveyed (49%) believe that giving patients access to their records is crucial to providing effective care, but only 21% of doctors surveyed currently allow patients to have online access to their medical summaries or patient charts, the most basic form of a patient’s record.

More than half of doctors surveyed (53%) believe that the introduction of electronic records has improved the quality of patient care, and the overwhelming majority (84%) say they are somewhat or strongly committed to promoting electronic records in their clinical practice. Most (77%) believe the right investments in adopting electronic records are being made, and 83% believe they will become integral to effective patient care in the next 2 years. 

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey on behalf of Accenture. It included 500 doctors per country (200 from Singapore) and assessed the physicians’ adoption and use of, and attitudes toward, healthcare IT. The research was conducted between November and December 2012.  


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