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Latest from HIMSS19: Patients to gain immediate access to medical records

David Butler | Feb 26, 2019 David Butler 02/26/19

Transparency is an important component for achieving the triple aim of healthcare—better patient experiences (PX), improved health of populations, and lower per capita costs. While at the recent HIMSS19 Global Conference, we learned of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) next step to this goal of transparency—the Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rule.

Combined with last year’s MyHealthEData initiative, this new rule will require more health data sharing and reduced information blocking. Most importantly, it mandates that patients have immediate access to their own medical records. It is a process, and we’re not there yet, but this is the next logical step in putting patients at the center of healthcare. 


What does this mean?

There are a lot of possible implications. Increased portability for patients is one. Since they will have possession of their medical records, consumers can more easily find a new provider. And having your complete medical history—including labs and test results—easily available for new appointments, you’ll have better context for the visit and reduce unnecessary retests.

However, transparency like this may have a downside. What if the patient doesn’t agree with the notes in their file? Will physicians be less likely to include important but potentially controversial notes and diagnoses in that record (e.g. issues involving depression, dementia, drug-seeking behavior, or anger issues)? 


What’s the impact on patient experience (PX)?

I expect that non-outcome based measures will become even more important in determining where and to whom patients go for their healthcare needs—communication and empathy shown by the doctors and nurses, and time spent with provider will likely become even more important measures. Patients now expect more: compassion, better communication, easier access to additional healthcare (including behavioral health), and availability in retail and online settings.


How can you prepare?

It starts with making sure you’re asking the right questions that will yield real insights. Every day we hear from practices and PX leaders that CAHPS surveys are now just a rigid regulatory and reimbursement obligation rather than an effective source of insights.

Healthcare organizations succeed with access to rich insights specific to their organization. The key is asking questions that are important to both you and your patients and the result is deeper, richer and more relevant insights that will drive a better patient experience. Achieving greater financial success through enhanced consumer loyalty and positive word of mouth starts with understanding how patients feel about their experience, and the time for doing that is now.

To learn more about uncovering actionable insights that drive patient loyalty and improve ROI, download information about PX platform


David Butler | VP, Healthcare