Medical records accessibility seem to create great angst with many providers. I find myself wondering about this issue when a client experiences resistance when requesting a copy or viewing of records. The common refrain from the provider is the invoking of the HIPAA law. The same law that gives the patient the right to see records. I will qualify this by saying some states have put restrictions are accessibility of a medical professional comments about a patient. It does not include any specific medical information.
Hospitals seem to be the worst for providing accessibility whether during an inpatient stay or discharge requests. On the other hand, many primary providers currently have set up online patient accounts. A patient can view lab results, send an email or refill medications. Why no access to the medical note?
I wonder if hospitals realize the anxiety they create when access is denied? A question I get asked by clients is, “ Are they hiding something?” I believe hospitals are not hiding information but have applied cumbersome systems that leave patient needs out of the picture. I advise my clients to never accept no as an answer.
I have a suggestion for hospitals, nursing homes and practices for medical record accessibility. Make accessibility user friendly. Here is an idea: By some laptops or IPads. Place them in a secure setting (Could be a desk with panels on the sides). Provide online , real time access to notes by using a password, ID number or some form of encrypted identification. Access is only available to the person listed on the HIPAA release. If the patient wants to see the records and cannot move from the room, have a laptop available which is managed by security or the patient relations team.
Why is access so important? It creates a trust, a sense of team work and the ability to spot any mistakes in the record. Transparency: it creates trust.