Survey: 92% of patients want access to their health records

Consumer Survey - Accenture

Patients are now five times as likely as doctors to believe that patients should have full access to their records, according to a new Accenture survey.

While the number of consumers who believe they should have full access to their records has increased over the past two years — from 84 percent in 2014 to 92 percent today — the number of doctors who shared that belief dropped significantly — from 31 to 18 percent — during the same period.

The U.S. findings, which are a part of a seven-country survey of roughly 8,000 consumers, also found that the number of patients who know exactly what data they can access in their EHRs has increased by more than 50 percent over the past two years, from 39 percent in 2014 to 65 percent today.

“Until now, the flow of clinical information has been to the doctor,” Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., who leads Accenture’s health practice globally, said in a statement. “With digitization driving a new level of information parity, doctors need to embrace – not resist – the notion of patients having complete access to their records.”

The survey also found that most consumers (77 percent) want to see exactly what the doctor sees, not a summary. However, significantly more consumers are likely to access their EHR to stay informed than they are to help with making medical decisions (41 percent vs. 6 percent). The areas cited most often by consumers for using their EHRs to manage their health include having access to lab results (41 percent) and having access to their physician’s notes about the visit (24 percent).

77% of consumers want to see exactly what the doctor sees, not a summary.However, while three-fourths view an EHR as a tool for their primary doctor, only 3 percent of respondents believe that an employer or government organization should have access to their records, and 9 percent believe that a retail clinic should have access to their records.

The majority of consumers also believe they should be able to update certain information in their EHR, including family medical history (cited by 89 percent), new symptoms (87 percent), demographic information (86 percent), changes in symptoms (86 percent) and personal medical history (83 percent). The number of doctors who believe patients should also be able to update various elements of their own records was similar to that for consumers.

Accenture’s survey was conducted by Nielsen between November 2015 and January 2016, involving 8,000 consumers from seven countries, including the United States (2,225 respondents), Australia (1,013), Brazil (1,006), England (1,009), Norway (800), Saudi Arabia (852) and Singapore (935).