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Patient Data Access is Insufficient for 60% of Healthcare Consumers

A new survey shows that most consumers want health systems to provide them with timely access to their medical records, but nearly three-fifths lack immediate patient data access.

Providing patients with easy access to their health information can improve patient engagement.

Yet, recent findings revealed that 60 percent of consumers don’t have adequate patient data access, according to a survey conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Carta Healthcare, which was obtained via email.

The survey of a little more than 1,000 United States patients showed that patients have a strong interest in their own medical records and prioritize providers that offer greater patient data access.

Under HIPAA, patients have an inherent right to access their own health information. Accessing records can enable active participation in patient care, helping patients ensure that their provider has complete information.

Healthcare providers who have offered patient portals and clinical note access have seen a difference in their behaviors.

Past studies have highlighted that patients with access to health information will later mention the notes during clinical encounters, highlighting gains in patient engagement and activation.

Better access to health information provided by doctors and healthcare facilities is a priority for 74 percent of surveyed respondents, per the Propeller Insights/Carta Healthcare report. Additionally, 45 percent of consumers stated they would likely recommend a healthcare provider that offers greater patient data access.

The findings also underscored a need for more patient understanding regarding patient data access, with 15 percent of respondents unaware if they have patient data access. Just over two-thirds of patients indicated they are unsure where their health data is stored after they leave their provider’s office.

The survey revealed that patients have mixed understanding about data ownership, pointing to a need for greater patient education. According to the survey, 47 percent of patients believe they have ownership of their health data, 24 percent stated the healthcare facility has data ownership, 16 percent believed the doctor has data ownership, and 13 percent stated the registry used to store the data has ownership.

The survey also showed healthcare data security is a top priority for patients, with nearly three-quarters (77) percent saying as much. However, despite the concern for data security, 71 percent of surveyed consumers were open to sharing their data to draw insights and improve outcomes if their identity is removed. 

This high approval of patient data sharing may result from the COVID-19 pandemic, as patients increased their digital health adoption and engagement.

A 2020 Deloitte Insights report showed that patients became warmer to patient data sharing with various healthcare stakeholders after COVID-19.

In a more novel finding, Deloitte found that patients are more willing to participate in patient data sharing with healthcare entities like payers and providers.

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