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American Hospital Association finds patient access to medical records higher than ever

AHA found that providers are enabling patients to conduct more tasks online, including paying bills, contacting providers, scheduling appointments.

Bernie Monegain, Editor, Healthcare IT News

More than 90 percent of hospitals across the country make patients' medical record available online, according to a new report from the American Hospital Association.

Most of them also make it possible for patients to perform related tasks, such as download information, request changes and send referral summaries to third parties.

AHA found progress in these realms. The 92 percent hospitals that make it possible for patients to view medical records, in fact, more than doubled since 2013, when 43 percent of hospitals offered that capability.

[Also: Doctors, hospitals can charge more than $6.50 for electronic records, Civil Rights Office says]

While 13 percent of providers allowed a referral summary to be sent to a third party compared in 2013, today 70 percent allow that. And 84 percent of hospitals allow patients to download information from their medical record, up 30 percent.

Tasks hospitals are making increasingly available for patients to do online include paying bills, scheduling appointments and refilling prescriptions.

AHA found that the ability for individuals to communicate with their providers online is growing.

Sixty-three percent of hospitals allowed patients to message their providers online in 2015, compared with 55 percent in 2014. Also, an increasing percentage of hospitals allow their patients to submit patient-generated data to their provider online.

This article first appeared in Healthcare IT News.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN