Survey: Patients Report Inability to Access Own Medical Records as Top Concern

Practice Fusion survey reveals patient demand for timely access to personal medical data, highlights potential for participatory medicine and personal health records in coming years.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – August 17, 2010 –American patients are worried about not being able to access their own medical records when needed, according to a survey conducted by GfK Roper for Practice Fusion, the free, web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) company. Concern about access outweighed worries about inaccuracy, theft, accidental destruction, ER availability or referral of personal medical records.

“The message is clear: patients want access to their medical records, and they want it now,” said Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion. “Practice Fusion is an early leader in giving doctors and medical practices a simple, free way to share health records with patients in real time. Our innovation gives patients the power to manage their own health.”

Top patient medical record worries:

  • 27.6 percent – I won’t be able to access my own records when I need them
  • 19.2 percent – My records will contain inaccurate or outdated information
  • 16.0 percent – My records will be stolen or used fraudulently
  • 13.1 percent – My records will be lost or destroyed by accident
  • 12.2 percent – My records won’t be accessible to an emergency room
  • 11.9 percent – My records won’t carry over to a new doctor

Other survey findings:

  • Men were more concerned about inaccurate or outdated records than women (22.4 percent vs. 16.3 percent).
  • Concern about record availability in an emergency room increases significantly with age (2.9 percent for patients 18-24 vs. 21.4 percent for patients 65+).
  • Inability to access medical records remained consistent as the top concern across all patient income levels, genders and regions.

Currently, HIPAA regulation mandates healthcare providers respond to patient requests for protected health information that is maintained or accessible on-site within 30 days. This request can take up to 60 days if such health information is not maintained or accessible on-site and even longer under other circumstances. Patients do not necessarily receive all their records (sometimes it is just a summary) and various state laws restrict what information can be shared. Patients are often charged per-page or per-request fees for access to their records. Physicians who use Practice Fusion’s free, web-based EHR system can grant patients real-time online access to their medical records.

Raw results from the patient survey are available upon request. Practice Fusion can also offer physician sources who electronically share records with their patients and health IT experts to discuss the risks and benefits of patient access to their medical data.

Survey methodology

The Practice Fusion survey was conducted via omnibus survey August 7-8, 2010. The GfK OmniWeb survey is a weekly national web survey of US households. Options were displayed in randomized order. Interviews were conducted from among a nationally representative sample of 1,002 adults age 18 or older.

About Participatory Medicine

Led by patient advocates such as Regina Holliday and e-Patient Dave, the participatory medicine movement promotes the concept of clinical transparency between patients, caregivers and medical providers. Health IT is seen as being a major driver in the shift toward participatory medicine, with EHR and PHR systems eliminating the administrative burden of faxing/copying medical records and allowing patient data to be accessible in real-time online.

About Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion provides a free, web-based Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system to physicians. With charting, scheduling, e-prescribing, billing, lab integrations, unlimited support and a Personal Health Record for patients, Practice Fusion’s EMR addresses the complex needs of today’s healthcare providers and disrupts the health IT status quo. Practice Fusion is the fastest growing EMR community in the country with more than 41,000 users. and Morgenthaler Ventures each own a minority interest in Practice Fusion. For more information on Practice Fusion, please visit

Press Contact – Helen Phung