Patient medical records in Alberta. Did you know?
Health records are not shared as freely as many patients think.
The majority of patients believe that various healthcare professionals in Alberta, including physicians and other healthcare providers, already have access to all or at least some of their personal medical records. However, relevant patient medical records are not easily shared between family doctors and other healthcare providers at this time.
There is strong support for a province-wide system to extract and share some selected patient information from family doctor medical records with other health care providers.
When offered a detailed description of the system, over 9-in-10 respondents (93%) say they approve. Overall, there are few concerns with a patient’s medical records being shared with other health care professionals – over one-half (52%) are not concerned, and another 3-in-10 (30%) are also not really concerned, but have some questions. The main top-of-mind concerns with the new system include who else would have access to this information (16%), security from hackers (10%), and patient consent (9%).
Patients are less certain when it comes to their medical record information excerpts being shared with government. Only 4-in-10 (41%) believe it is important that Alberta Health have access to anonymized, aggregate patient data from health records.
They are most concerned when it comes to “sensitive” information because they are unclear why the information might be needed and for what purposes. It will be important for Alberta Health to clarify how this information will be used, identify how having it will benefit patients overall, and highlight how personally identifiable information will be removed from the data. When properly conceived and explained, patients will likely be supportive of their information being used to improve care delivery.
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