Most Docs Don’t Want You to See Your Full Electronic Medical Record

But they want you to help update the data it contains, survey shows.

Most doctors in the United States think patients should be actively involved in updating their electronic health records, but they don’t want to give them full access to those records, according to a new study by technology consulting firm Accenture.

Only 31 percent of U.S. doctors said they were willing to give their patients full access to their electronic records; 65 percent said patients should have limited access. Approximately 4 percent said they did not want their patients to have any access to their EHRs.

Physicians diverged on how much information they thought patients should be allowed contribute to their EHRs. In the United States, 79 percent of doctors wanted patients to contribute all of their demographic information, but only 51 percent wanted all information on new symptoms. Interestingly, U.S doctors were more willing than their international colleagues to allow patient access to information like medication side effects and allergic episodes.

Approximately 49 percent of U.S doctors think that additional access to EHRs is part of the process for providing better care for patients, even though only 21 percent currently give patients access to their medical summary data. 

Mark Knickrehm, Accenture Health’s senior global managing director, wrote that the survey revealed that U.S doctors wanted their patients more involved in the process because such involvement fostered “personal responsibility and ownership.”

“Several U.S. health systems have found that the benefits outweigh the risks in allowing patients open access to their medical records, and we expect this trend to continue,” Knickrehm wrote.

A recent study by the RAND Corp. found that medical practitioners had so far failed to realize the cost savings anticipated from electronic health records. Even so, nearly 53 percent of the doctors in Accenture’s survey thought EHRs had improved the quality of health care, and 84 percent were “somewhat or strongly committed” to promoting EHRs in their practice. Approximately 83 percent of doctors were bullish on the prospects of EHRs in the next 2 years.

The results were part of an eight country survey, which asked 3,700 doctors about their attitudes toward health care technology.