Federal incentives such as meaningful use are increasing patients’ access to their Electronic Health Records and encouraging greater engagement in their own care. That’s a good thing since Electronic Health Records can have errors in them. Having a “second pair of eyes” on the Electronic Health Records can help improve the quality of the information that providers use to make clinical decisions. Patients, after all, know the most about their health and want to make sure their doctors have the most accurate information about them.
Results from a Geisinger Health System study, demonstrate that patients can be effectively engaged online to improve the quality of the information in their Electronic Health Records — helping to spot errors such as outdated information and omissions such as medications prescribed by another provider. The pilot study invited patients to provide online feedback, via a patient portal, on the accuracy of their medication list in advance of a visit to their provider.
- Patients are eager to provide feedback on their medication list – 30 percent of patient feedback forms were completed and in 89 percent of cases, patients requested changes to their medication record.
- Patient feedback is accurate and useful – on average, patients had 10.7 medications listed, with 2.4 requested changes. In 68 percent of cases, the pharmacist made changes to the medication list in the electronic health record based on the patient’s feedback.
As health information exchange grows, there is the potential for erroneous information to be perpetuated. There is also greater opportunity for patients to help clean up that data. And they want to help. A 2010 survey by the California Healthcare Foundation found that “making sure information is correct” is the most useful feature of a personal health record.
Nevertheless, most institutions do not proactively solicit feedback from patients about their Electronic Health Records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides individuals with the right to request an amendment to information in their record but the mechanism for providing feedback is not yet institutionalized in healthcare the way it is in other industries. The report points out that healthcare could learn a lot from other industries like financial institutions and e-commerce about how to develop effective processes for gathering and responding to user feedback.
There is a growing evidence base that supports giving patient’s greater access to their information as a first step towards engaging them as equal partners in their care. Patients who were given access to their doctors’ notes reported they do better in taking their meds. Findings from the Geisinger pilot further demonstrate the value that patients can provide when they are invited to participate more fully in their care.
If your office is interested in getting help to pay for acquiring Electronic Health Records then please give us a call today at 866-203-3260 today and speak with one or our representatives.