August 18, 2010 — American patients are worried about not being able to access their own medical records when needed, according to a survey conducted by GfK Roper for Practice Fusion.
Concern about access outweighed worries about inaccuracy, theft, accidental destruction, ER availability or referral of personal medical records.
“The message is clear: patients want access to their medical records, and they want it now,” said Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion.
Top patient medical record worries:
• 27.6 percent – “I won’t be able to access my own records when I need them”
• 19.2 percent – “My records will contain inaccurate or outdated information”
• 16.0 percent – “My records will be stolen or used fraudulently”
• 13.1 percent – “My records will be lost or destroyed by accident”
• 12.2 percent – “My records won’t be accessible to an emergency room”
• 11.9 percent – “My records won’t carry over to a new doctor”
Other survey findings:
Men were more concerned about inaccurate or outdated records than women (22.4 percent versus 16.3 percent).
Concern about record availability in an emergency room increases significantly with age (2.9 percent for patients 18-24 versus 21.4 percent for patients 65+).
Inability to access medical records remained consistent as the top concern across all patient income levels, genders and regions.
Currently, HIPAA regulation mandates healthcare providers respond to patient requests for protected health information that is maintained or accessible on-site within 30 days.
This request can take up to 60 days if such health information is not maintained or accessible on-site and even longer under other circumstances. Patients do not necessarily receive all their records (sometimes it is just a summary) and various state laws restrict what information can be shared. Patients are often charged per-page or per-request fees for access to their records.
Raw results from the patient survey are available upon request. Practice Fusion can also offer physician sources who electronically share records with their patients and health IT experts to discuss the risks and benefits of patient access to their medical data.
The Practice Fusion survey was conducted via omnibus survey Aug. 7-8, 2010. The GfK OmniWeb survey is a weekly national Web survey of U.S. households. Options were displayed in randomized order. Interviews were conducted from among a nationally representative sample of 1,002 adults age 18 or older.
Source: Practice Fusion, www.practicefusion.com