Doctors Want Patients To Update, But Not Have Full Access To EMRs

So, it seems that doctors are willing to open up the kimono, but only so far. A new Accenture study has concluded that while most U.S. doctors surveyed are ready to have patients update their electronic health record, only a minority believe patients should have access to their full record.

Accenture, which announced these results last week at HIMSS, did an eight-country survey of 3,700 doctors cutting across Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the U.S.

When it came to U.S. doctors, 82 percent reported that they were comfortable having patients update their own EMR data. But when asked, less than a third (31 percent) felt that patients should have access to their full record. Sixty-five percent felt that  patients should have limited access and 4 percent no access at all.  (Interestingly, the results were similar across all eight countries, Accenture reports.)

Breaking things down further, while almost half (47 percent) of U.S. doctors surveyed felt that patients should not be able to update their lab results, most said patients should be able to update several types of information, including:

* Demographics (95 percent)
* Family medical history (88 percent)
* Medications (87 percent)
* Allergies (85 percent)

Most doctors (81 percent) also believe patients should be able to add clinical updates to records, specifically self-measured items like glucose and blood pressure levels or new symptoms.

On the other hand, only 21 percent of doctors surveyed currently allow patients to have online access to their medical summary or patient chart, despite the fact that 49 percent believe that giving patients access to their records is crucial to providing effective care, Accenture said.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • Isn’t this intriguing? Here we all thought that opening up the pipelines for health data to flow from site to site would prove beneficial. The fact that most providers want to close off access (even if just to review my last office note or latest lab results) to MY health info seems absolutely backwards. I think giving patients access to the data, even if limited, can only help. Look at how facilities are finally starting to utilize Knowledge Based Charting. With access to these EMRs, patients can readily update immunizations handled outside of the office, new allergies…the list goes on.

    Obviously I am a proponent of a more open environment in healthcare. I think it is MY data, not someone else’s. And I also think that patients should be an ACTIVE part of their healthcare. It can only help the industry. Of course, that is just my personal opinion 🙂

  • I’ll be short and sweet, well maybe not so sweet…

    The only thing that’s going to make significant progress toward patient interaction with their health data is more patient’s seeing value in taking control of their data. Once people see value, they’ll demand it; once they demand it, doctors will have to acquiesce.

  • I just met with a new PCP this week and, being in the EHR industry, I asked her about what EHR she used. It was interesting to hear her negative feedback toward EHRs in general and the desire to keep patient data private. I found it interesting that she never asked me anything along the lines of how I’d like to receive information from her. And there was an error in getting my past medical history from the paper forms I filled out in the waiting room to her computer. If only I could have updated my records online. She would’ve had better data and I would have been able to easily see my lab reports today.

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