Background: Providing patients with access to their electronic health records offers great promise to improve patient health and satisfaction with their care, as well to improve professional and organizational approaches to health care. Although many benefits have been identified, there are many questions about best practices for the implementation of patient accessible Electronic Health Records (EHRs).
Objectives: To develop recommendations to assist health care organizations in providing patients with access to EHRs in a meaningful, responsible, and responsive manner.
Methods: A Patient Accessible Electronic Health Record (PAEHR) Workshop was held with nationally and internationally renowned experts to explore issues related to providing patient access to the EHR and managing institutional change.
Results: The PAEHR Workshop was attended by 45 participants who discussed recommendations for the implementation of patient accessible EHRs. Recommendations were discussed under four subject domains: (1) providing patient access to the EHR, (2) maintaining privacy and confidentiality related to the PAEHR, (3) patient education and navigation of the PAEHR, and (4) strategies for managing institutional change. The discussion focused on the need for national infrastructure, clear definitions for privacy, security and confidentiality, flexible, interoperable solutions, and patient and professional education. In addition, there was a strong call for research into all domains of patient accessible EHRs to ensure the adoption of evidence-based practices.
Conclusions: Patient access to personal health information is a fundamental issue for patient engagement and empowerment. Health care professionals and organizations should consider the potential benefits and risks of patient access when developing EHR strategies. Flexible, standardized, and interoperable solutions must be integrated with outcomes-based research to activate effectively patients as partners in their health care.