Patients and Doctors Divided on Access to Electronic Records

A new survey by Accenture found that the divide between patients and doctors who believe that patients should have full access to their own electronic health record systems is growing.

In the past two years, the difference of opinions between patients and doctors on patient access to electronic health records (EHRs) has grown – with patients now five times as likely as doctors to believe that patients should have full access to their records.

The findings show that the number of consumers who believe they should have full access to their records has increased over the past two years—from 84 percent in 2014 to 92 percent today. In contrast, the number of doctors who shared that same belief dropped significantly, from 31 percent to 18 percent, during the same period.


The Accenture survey also found that 77 percent of consumers want to see exactly what the doctor sees – not a summary of their records. Patients are also seeking the ability to update their records with their demographic information, family medical history and new symptoms. This is a point of agreement between patients and doctors, who also agree that patients should be able to update most information in his or her EHR.

The study results show that consumers have strong views on who should access their EHR data. While 75 percent view an EHR as a tool for their primary doctor, over 50% say that the records should not be accessed by others, unless they provide permission. Only 3% of consumers believe their employer or the government should be able to access their health records.

Accenture warn that providers need to prepare for the future by closing the gap with their patients. There is an opportunity for physicians to increase the level of transparency and improve communications with patients, but providers must invest in digital tools and develop strategies to adapt to consumers’ expectations. 

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