News | May 1, 2013

Patient Empowerment Through Data Sharing

Portals Create Pathway to Improved Accuracy, Patient Understanding

Thanks to an increasing adoption of patient portals, patients now have greater access to their health information than ever before. Patients can not only view their data but also question and validate it, which can help improve the accuracy of the information. Health information management (HIM) staff and clinicians can lead the way, according to “Personal Check: Patients the New Ally in Data Integrity Management” in the May Journal of AHIMA.

“AHIMA wants patients to be able to access, carry, and update their health information, wherever they are in the world,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “Our goal as HIM professionals is to create health intelligence out of data, so that consumers can make better decisions.” 

The popularity of patient portals is due in part to the federal government’s “meaningful use” Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive program, since it requires that patients have electronic and timely access to health information. Offering a portal allows patients the ability to constantly monitor their information and suggest amendments.

Experts in the field offered these tips for healthcare organizations to facilitate the process:

  • Develop a portal with a focus on patient collaboration and data accuracy and encourage patients to let the organization know if they find any inaccuracies.
  • Prepare for an increase in requests for amendments and establish a process for reviewing and responding to the requests.
  • Educate patients about the amendment process and what kinds of requests for amendments may be approved or denied, as appropriate.
  • Encourage physicians to discuss test results or exam findings with patients so patients understand the content of their records.
  • Consider designating a liaison who can assist patients with questions about the portal and amendments.

Also in this issue
Other articles in the May issue of the Journal of AHIMA:

  • “Declassifying Doctors’ Notes” examines the OpenNotes Project, in which patients were able to access their primary care doctors’ notes online. Physicians saw value in transparency as a way to foster partnerships with patients, while patients felt more in control of their own care.
  • A new practice brief, “Rules for Handling and Maintaining Metadata in the EHR," addresses the role metadata plays in the patient’s official record of care within the EHR.

Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 67,000 educated health information management professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA’s enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. For more information, visit

Source: American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)