Should Patients Have Online Access to Their Medical Records?
Should all patients be given online access to their medical records? The British healthcare system is currently considering such a possibility. With electronic medical records progressively becoming the norm throughout the medical world, this access would be feasible but would it be wise? Certainly, there would be advantages to the patient who would readily see the written result of the office visit and could then, if necessary, confront the physician with corrections, additions and questions and in a timely fashion. But what are the negatives to such an idea beyond potential loss of patient privacy due to inappropriate or illegal computer access? For example, would this mean that the medical record would have to be written in words understandable by any patient rather than in more concise and professionally understandable terminology and thus perhaps degrade professional communication? Would such access more easily give rise to patients starting malpractice actions due to misunderstandings of what was written to the record? Could patient's be pressured by others (insurance companies or employers as examples) into providing access to the electronic records since they would be more readily available? What do you think? ..Maurice.