Patient Access To EHR: The Potential Risks And Benefits
We know that we live in a world where the internet is everything. The younger and growing generation is so much submerged in it, that they even forget the outside world. There is no difference when it comes to the healthcare industry. Medical devices, equipment, and even services are digitalized now.
AI’s the king today. There are so many innovations happening to outshine as the best. So, let’s see the specific topic which is increasing slowly but at a steady pace in the industry i.e, the Electronic Health Records (EHR) and its access by the patients.
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
You need to know what is Electronic Health Records(EHR) before we dive into the deep.
EHR is the digital version of a patient's paper record. Electronic Health Records software helps the healthcare providers or the physicians to manage the patients’ medical records easily without taking much time and increases the provider’s efficiency by automating the clinical workflows.
In simple words, it is aimed at documenting and storing a patient’s medical information/history digitally. This helps to make a more accurate diagnosis, better treatment, and decision-making.
It helps in reducing the time taken for the providers by eliminating manual tiresome work.
It’s a modern and sophisticated tool that uses graphical representations, chart notes for recording a patient’s medical history, allergy information, test results, etc. In short, all the information regarding the patients.
There will be no need for manual recording by means, paper recordings, after starting using this software, except for some situations.
They are automated and reduce costs and improve maintenance.
In short, by going through these records a doctor/clinician can gain all the knowledge they need to know about their patient without even asking them if it's updated at a regular interval. So let’s move on to the main question.
So, Why Patient Access To Electronic Health Records Is Important?
Electronic Health Records contain the patient's records from multiple doctors and provide a more holistic, long-term view of a patient's health.
Usually, the doctors/ clinicians can only have access to these records. But now, almost all the providers have started allowing their patients to access EHRs from the past few years.
Electronic Health Records uses Patient Portals, Electronic Medical Records, Telemedicine, etc.
According to a source, 93% of surveyed hospitals and health systems allow patient access to EHRs, according to a recent report from the American Hospital Association (AHA). AHA analyzed data from the 2016 AHA Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement for community hospitals, gathered from November 2016 to April 2017 to assess the state of patient engagement with health data. This is the first in a series of AHA Annual Survey IT Supplement briefs.
Overall, researchers observed patient access to EHRs has improved significantly over the past several years.
The number of hospitals and health systems that allow their patients to request prescriptions refills, schedule appointments, and pay bills online has also increased.
Enhanced patient access to clinical notes could reduce malpractice claims by reducing diagnostic delays, mitigating medical errors, and improving patient-clinician relationships.
Malpractice claims can be reduced by reducing diagnostic delays, improving patient-clinician relationships, and diminishing medical errors by enhancing patient access to EHR clinical notes.
Benefits Gained By Providing Access
Enabling patients to play a role in their care management through EHR access supports the development of a patient-centered healthcare system.
- This increases patient access to information that extends beyond simply viewing EHRs online.
- Granting patients the ability to modify or expand their Electronic Health Records will increase the credibility of the hospital/ the health system.
- The foremost causes of malpractice claims are misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. The access to EHR data helps the caregivers and the patients to participate equally in the diagnosis and treatment process.
- Providing access to the patients can potentially reduce the risk of delay, misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, and errors in treatment.
- When a provider allows their patient to engage in the checking/updating information about them or the treatment, the misinformations and data fed regarding the patient or their treatment can be avoided.
- Patients who report errors in their health information could therefore prevent physicians from relying on incorrect data that may lead to poor diagnostic or treatment decisions and legal liability.
- Access to EHR data allows patients to take legal advice about potential malpractice cases.
- It reduces the anxiety of the patients by letting them alter their health records.
However, offering patients full access to their health information could invite new legal concerns for clinicians as well.
- The topmost risk involved in allowing patient access to EHRs is the concern about security, privacy, and confidentiality of the health records.
- The concerns/findings regarding the misinformation, diagnosis, etc, may increase the anxiety amongst patients.
- This access is often part of government strategies when developing patient-centric self-management elements of a sustainable healthcare system and it may be complicated for most of them.
- This free access may cause the physicians/clinicians to alter the information of the documentation.
- To satisfy the patients, the medical records may be tailored. This may mislead other clinicians and affect the quality of care provided by them.
As a healthcare provider, you should know the pros of including Electronic Health Records in your practice. They take you to an advanced level of quality care delivery.
And, Patient access to their electronic health records (EHR) is likely to become an integral part of healthcare systems worldwide.
It has the potential to decrease healthcare provision costs, improve access to healthcare data, self-care, quality of care, and health and patient-centered outcomes.
So, don’t wait for anyone to tell you to get into action. Your new start begins today. Check out Vozo's Electronic Health Record software and other products provided by us. Schedule a demo to help us take you to higher levels in your healthcare delivery.
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