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EHR PortalEvidence is mounting that giving patients access to EHRs improves their accuracy and can improve the doctor-patient relationship.

Research continues to show that the patient portal is an integral part of any practitioner’s system as they work to improve patient care.
As far back as 2003, researchers at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center were looking at the effects of promoting patient access to medical records. Despite the fact that it was a new experience, many patients were interested in reading their records, and some found errors that were subsequently corrected.
The study also found statistically significant benefits to doctor-patient communication: obstetric patients who were given access to their records were nearly one and a half times more likely to say they found it easier to talk to their doctors and midwives.
More recently, a study published by eGEMS found that patients can improve their medical records’ accuracy if effectively engaged using a networked personal health record. The importance of this cannot be overstated, given recent studies showing medication-list omission rates between 27% for ambulatory oncology patients and 53% for primary care patients.

Electronic platforms, such as personal health records and patient portals, that allow patients to view their records, submit and receive comments, and request changes increase the ease, speed, and potentially the frequency of this process, write the eGEMS study authors.

The American Medical Association has some tips to give patients electronic access to their medical records. They maintain that this is the tried and true way in order to ensure that patients remain well informed about the information in their charts and are able to continuously remain in touch with their doctors. As the progression to a virtual world continues, online patient portals and communications are important. Here are a few:

  • Understand that patients have a right to their medical/ billing information
  • Electronic access should not be an aspect to monetize because of its impact on doctor-patient relationship
  • Patient access cannot be denied based on the practice’s belief
  • Keep in mind that patients can authorize other family members to receive information instead of them

The reasons keeping patients from accessing their portal however revolve around different factors such as dislike of online communication, privacy concerns, and no internet access.

Last Updated on April 29, 2021

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