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Few patients access EHR data despite widespread availability, says report

Few patients access EHR data despite widespread availability, says report

“Policy efforts have failed to engage a large proportion of patients in the electronic use of their data or to bridge the ‘digital divide’ that accompanies health care disparities,” according to Health Affairs.

A nationwide study of more than 2,400 hospitals indicates patients are not accessing the information provided through electronic health records, despite efforts to improve  patients’ ability to access and use EHRs.

WHY IT MATTERS
Although 95 percent of the hospitals provided outgoing patients with access to view, download, and transmit their EHRs, fewer than one in 10 actually took advantage of the possibility.

These were among the findings of a study compiling data from 2,410 hospitals for the period 2014-16, which was led by the Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State University School of Public Health and published in Health Affairs.

Use of EHRs was particularly low among hospitals in counties with a high proportion of residents who were dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as counties that lacked computer or internet access, and among Hispanic communities.

THE LARGER TREND
The report follows an October survey of more than 1,000 physicians, which revealed nearly half said their current EHR system had harmed their practice’s care quality.

The Medical Economics’ 2019 EHR Scorecard report found a total of 60 percent of respondents said their EHR system had harmed their ability to engage with patients in the exam room.

The integration of EHRs continues to be a pain point for healthcare providers, according to a September survey of 108 hospital and health system chief financial officers and revenue cycle executives.

The survey, conducted by Navigant and the Healthcare Financial Management Association, also revealed more than half of organizations are having trouble keeping up with EHR upgrades or are currently underusing available EHR functions.

ON THE RECORD
“Overall, our findings suggest that policy efforts have failed to engage a large proportion of patients in the electronic use of their data or to bridge the ‘digital divide’ that accompanies health care disparities,” researchers said in the Health Affairs report.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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