The challenges in making electronic health records accessible to patients

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There has been an increase in consumer demand for access to information and a healthcare system that may not be able to meet these demands has caused tension. In order to provide a solution to this problem there must be an understanding of the barriers that could possibly prevent patients from getting electronic access to their health data. The purpose of this paper was to review the challenges that occur with the sharing of electronic health records EHR.

Current Issues

Current issues that stand in the way of providing patient EHR access include:

  • Cost and security concerns
  • Access to and custodianship of information
  • Defining expertise and medical authority
  • Determining and including relevant health information into the patient-accessible EHR
  • Patients’ comprehension of clinical data
  • Liability issues
  • Tensions between flexible access to data and flexible access to physicians

Future Challenges

Providing EHR access to patients could greatly benefit not only the patient but the health system as well. It could provide improvement in quality and coordination of care, improved patient compliance and reduction in system use.

Related Articles


The challenges in making electronic health records accessible to patients Leslie Beard, Rebecca Schein, Dante Morra, Kumanan Wilson, Jennifer Keelan Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association Jan 2012, 19 (1) 116-120; retrieved November 22, 2015 from DOI: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000261