There’s power in accessing online health records. Why don’t more patients do it?

Accessing your health records is easy on a smartphone or other device but new research shows many patients aren’t taking advantage of that option.

The data, published in Health Affairs, detailed results collected from 2,400 hospitals and shows about 95% of patients have access to their online hospital records but only one in 10 do so.

“Providers need to be exploring how and why their patients are not taking advantage of access to their records,” said Portland State University’s Sunny Lin, who helped conduct the study.

According to Lin, it’s a tool researchers say is only useful if people can access it or know how to in the first place, which means more effort is necessary.

The data shows that some hospitals were able to get more patients to access their records online.

“What that speaks to is education or just showing them how to use a patient portal before discharge,” she added.

The benefit of accessing those electronic records is a better understanding of your own health, Lin said.

“They’re a tool that can help patients navigate that recovery faster and I think knowledge is power and what patients really want is a stronger sense of ownership in their recovery.”

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up