Patients’ Most Wanted List: Lab Report Access is No. 1


Patients are getting more comfortable with health IT and accessing their health records in apps and online. A recent study found patients have strong opinions relating to the accessibility of their own medical records as well as sharing their records with clinicians. As health IT professionals gear up to meet 21st Century Cures Act requirements, the role of the empowered patient cannot be ignored.

Patients' most wanted list

COVID-19 accelerated the opportunity for patients to utilize technology and take a more active role in accessing their providers and their own electronic records. During the pandemic, telemedicine went from niche to necessity, and patients and physicians gained valuable experience working together with technology-assisted options. Now, the 21st Century Cures Act further expands the requirements for electronic data sharing from provider-to-provider and provider-to-patient

Patients are increasing their use of technology and expect their electronic health records to  keep pace with their demands.

Patient engagement has rapidly increased due to activities such as the electronic availability of medical records, online appointment scheduling systems, and electronic messaging apps that allow patients to communicate directly with healthcare providers. In addition to information collected in traditional care settings, the integration of data generated by personal devices is being actively integrated into patient medical records.  Today, over one billion devices currently are in use and the wearable medical tech market is expected to grow at 26.8% CAGR through 2028. Wearables include tech devices that have sensors to measure activity levels, steps walked or other environmental indicators and can include smart watches, smart goggles, fitness trackers and other tech devices that push the data to apps on users’ mobile phones. This type of personal device data can provide valuable insights when integrated with traditional clinical data sources.

In thinking about their electronic health record expectations, a recent national survey for The PEW Charitable Trusts found that:

  • Most Americans want their data to be more accessible and better protected.
  • About half of all respondents had accessed their digital personal health record

However, there are differences in the priorities patients place on the top 10 types of data they want clinicians to share between providers versus the types of medical data they perceive as most important to be able to engage with for themselves.

Top 10 types of data patients want their clinicians
to be able to share in a provider-to-provider exchange
Top 10 types of medical information patients
would like to access for themselves
1. Allergies (80%) 1. Laboratory test results (89%)
2. Immunizations (78%) 2. History of medical conditions (88%)
3. Medications and prescription medications (78%) 3. List of medications and prescription medications (87%)
4. Vital signs (76%) 4. Vital signs (87%)
5. Radiology images and reports (76%) 5. Immunizations (87%)
6. Advanced care plans and directives (76%) 6. Treatment plans (87%)
7. Laboratory test results (74%) 7. Radiology images and reports (87%)
8. History of medical conditions (71%) 8. Physician and clinical notes (84%)
9. Treatment plans (70%) 9. Insurance billing and claims (84%)
10. Family medical history (69%) 10. Allergies (83%)


Patients report that provider access and interoperability with their medical records should expand beyond current requirements.

In the survey, 81 percent said different providers should be able to share health data about shared patients, specifically advanced care plans, end-of-life preferences, images, and family medical histories – items that current federal data-sharing policies don’t require.

The ONC is laying the foundation to empower patients to better access their electronic health records. ONC guidance includes a requirement that EHRs are available to patients through standardized mechanisms such as FHIR API standards, further supporting patient-facing apps to develop faster and better.

Note: The U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) is a standardized core set of baseline health data needed to support patient care and facilitate patient access using health IT. The ONC says it will expand over time via a predictable, transparent, and collaborative public process. USCDI currently includes data classes such as: Allergies, Clinical Notes, Diagnostic Imaging, Health Concerns, Lab Tests and Reports, Problems, Vital Signs, Medications, Procedures, Immunizations, and more.

Implementing USCDI will help common components of a patient’s health record to integrate across various systems and applications. The ONC also requires that EHR vendors support the capture of specific data elements such as   race, ethnicity, and language  which support health equity and public health data  initiatives.

Patients report that the federal government should include incentives for the prompt adoption of national data standards so that EHRs can easily share data.

Additional patient insights support the federal government acting to:

  • Ensure the national data set that EHRs must be able to share should include all the elements that patients want their providers to document and share
  • Update privacy laws to account for new developments, such as use of new health-related apps
  • Researching biometrics (such as fingerprints) to potentially improve the accuracy of patient matching.

The time is now for Health IT to get it right.

As your team continues to refine its strategy and action steps to meet the Cures Act guidelines and best practices for the clinical data within your care, Harmony Healthcare IT can be a valued resource. Check out these past Interoperability Updates from David Navarro, Senior Director of Data Science, Harmony Healthcare IT:

Legacy health data is in play for interoperability as retention requirements can span decades.

As decisions are made to decommission a legacy system, structured and unstructured data is either extracted and converted to a go-forward system (i.e., Epic, Cerner, MEDITECH) or migrated and secured into an active archive solution such as HealthData Archiver®.  HealthData Archiver® is an application that stores records of any type   and provides on-demand access via a user interface with intelligent workflows (i.e., release of information for HIM users or single sign-on for clinicians as integrated on Epic’s App Orchard and marketplaces for other leading EHRs)

HealthData AR Manager® maintains necessary interfaces to claims scrubbers, clearinghouses, lockboxes, general ledgers, and statement firms, to store and manage legacy financial records that require complete accounts receivable wind down by revenue cycle users

Records are then activated for interoperability with other systems, entities or consumers via HealthData Integrator®, which provides a set of tools or APIs based on common industry standards such as USCDI, FHIR, HL7, C-CDA, XML, or Direct.

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Mar 29 2023

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