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EMR: Popular with Patients, Not Yet with Physicians

When patients at the VA Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, were given access to key parts of their EMRs, such as visit notes, lab results and discharge summaries, they believed that the ability to view their records helped. They said they gained knowledge about their health, did a better job of taking care of themselves, and had an easier time talking frankly with their doctors. EMR: Popular with Patients, Not Yet with Physicians

Those results come from a 2013 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Interestingly, a 2013 study by Accenture showed that 68% of US doctors want restrictions on patients’ ability to view and update their EMRs. Their concerns come down to an issue of trust and accuracy, said report author Kaveh Safavi. “When several people can access a file, it increases the risk of adding confusing or incorrect information.” In practice, patients are routinely denied the right to simply review records; only one in five doctors is currently providing any patient access online to their EMR.

Anecdotally, physicians are concerned about the impact of EMR on their practices. A critique of EMR implementation to date on KevinMD, which bills itself as social media’s leading physician voice, points to underperforming software, the loss of control over the doctor-patient relationship, and the generally top-down way in which EMR innovation is being driven.