Blocking Access Through Hidden Dams

Blocking Access Through Hidden Dams

We are living in an environment where too many providers are pushing back against patients accessing their medical records and health information.

In my daily patient advocacy work, I am seeing an increase in doctors discouraging:

  • portal use
  • patients against reading new lab, pathology, or imaging results
  • signing up for a patient portal.
  • using apps to gather one’s health information.

Discouraging the use of patient portals and not offering access to portals and individuals’ information is harmful to patients, hinders the growth of the doctor-patient relationship, and directly causes inequities in care and access to care

Here is a powerful highlight from a recent study published in JAMIA,Disparities in Patient Portal Access and the Role of Providers in Encouraging Access and Use:

“Rates of portal use to view test results and message with providers were similar across racial/ethnic groups, whereas Black and Hispanic individuals were MORE LIKELY than Whites to use their portal to download or transmit information.”

It was noted that differences in access and use were attributed to disparities in whether a patient was OFFERED a portal and that provider encouragement significantly increased the likelihood of access and use.

We have work to do. We must stop fear-mongering and denying patients access to their health information. The last thing we need are hidden dams to access being built.

To help advance patient access to EHI, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Cures Act Final Rule tasks developers of certified health IT to adopt standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable patients to access their EHI using apps by way of their smartphone or another device.

Read this excellent blog post, Disparities in Patient Access to Electronic Health Information: Insights from a National Survey, by Chelsea Richwine, Ph.D., also leading author of the study and JAMIA publication.

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