ONC releases guide to improve EHR utilization

HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released an online guide for patients and caregivers to improve the utilization of patient portals and access to health information.

The ONC Guide to Getting and Using your Health Records supports the 21st Century Cures Act in providing patients access to their electronic health information and the MyHealthData initiative in giving patients control of their health information. The guide is also supported by CMS, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It’s important that patients and their caregivers have access to their own health information so they can make decisions about their care and treatments,” said Don Rucker, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology. “This guide will help answer some of the questions that patients may have when asking for their health information.”

While utilization of online health records increased from 42 percent in 2014 to 50 percent in 2017, almost half of Americans who were offered access to their records did not view them because of a perceived lack of need. The guide aims to address the challenges Americans face in accessing medical records to improve the positive perceptions, manage health needs more conveniently, communicate with providers and improve self-management and decision-making.