A study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports, overall, healthcare professionals demonstrate a growing receptiveness to the regulation that requires patients be permitted access to providers’ clinical notes. Of 200 clinicians surveyed, 44 percent feel more positive following experiences with the newly enacted 21st Century Cures Act provision.
After adopting patient access to clinical notes, study participants say the process lends itself to stronger patient engagement and higher satisfaction, improved patient preparation ahead of appointments and more active participation in their care. Further, study participants’ concerns related to additional provider time requirements, potential litigation, patient confusion, and harm to the patient-physician relationship decreased.
“Patient data access has been the backbone of patient engagement efforts since health IT’s insurgence in the early 2010s,” says the report. Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, explains the process engages patients in a broader, deeper way by encouraging them to share new information and improves individuals’ participation in their healthcare.
The new 21st Century Cures Act regulation, which took effect on April 5, 2021, instructs healthcare professionals to grant all patients access to their records, including clinician notes. Additionally, healthcare providers must ensure current procedures do not allow for information blocking, or interference with access, exchange or the use of electronic health information.
MLMIC encourages providers to familiarize themselves with the 21St Century Cures Act and ensure compliance with its requirements in their practices.
We offer a number of resources to aid physicians in strengthening patient engagement, satisfaction and communication:
- Effective Communication with Patients, a risk management tip for promoting effective patient-physician communication;
- Patient Generated Health Data Requires New Protocols for Use and Documentation, a blog post on existing and emerging technologies that make it possible for patients to introduce their own notes and data into their medical records;
- Communicating with Low Health Literacy Patients, a risk management tip for effective communication with patients with limited knowledge and understanding of medical terminology; and
- Strategies to Mitigate Risk Related to Documentation, Communication & Follow-up, a blog post with strategies to mitigate potential risks related to documentation and patient communication.