GAO: Patients aren't viewing their health data

In recent years, HHS has rolled out multiple initiatives to increase patients' access to their electronic health information. However, the department has not effectively assessed these efforts, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

For the report, GAO analyzed data from HHS, interviewed stakeholders and surveyed providers in CMS' Medicare EHR Incentive Program, in an effort to determine whether patients access and use their electronic health information. In the 2015 Medicare EHR Program, 88 percent of hospitals offered patients the ability to electronically access their health information.

Although the patients GAO interviewed said this access to health information is beneficial, relatively few patients choose to do so. Only 15 percent of patients electronically accessed their available health information, according to data from the 2015 Medicare EHR Program. One frustration patients noted was an inability to aggregate from multiple sources and thereby see their health information over time.

In the report, GAO encouraged HHS to develop metrics to assess their electronic health information access initiatives, in an effort to inform the development of future efforts.

Click here to view the full report.

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