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Patients should have real-time access to all information in their health records since they have the right to not only self-directed treatment options but should also know the cost of their procedure, its relevance to their treatment and its long-term implications for their health. By denying them access to their medical records, hospitals are causing patients to distrust hospitals and the various medical procedures that they have to endure. If there is a lack of trust between patients and treatment facilities, this can have an adverse impact on not only a person’s willingness to undergo a particular treatment process but can also affect their potential future patronage of the hospital’s services.
Understanding the Issue
Presently, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), patients are granted substantial protections against their medical information being shared by hospitals, doctors or other medical personnel that they have not approved of. If such protections exist to protect their information from unauthorized access, then it goes without saying that the owners of the information (i.e. the patients) should be the ones who, ultimately, should have the highest clearance to access it themselves. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
In fact, it does not make sense, from a business perspective, to withhold information from a client that is utilizing your services. Some hospitals (mostly for-profit institutions) are businesses whose purpose is to provide medical assistance, at a price. As such, since a patient is utilizing a paid for service, they should have the right to access information that pertains to it (Pear, 2016).
One of the common arguments against the implementation of such a policy is the notion that since patients cannot understand what is written in their health records, they should not have access to it. Admittedly, it is true that many patients lack the necessary medical knowledge and experience to understand what is written in their records. As such, giving them access would, initially, not make sense given the lack of any perceived positive outcome from them reading what they do not understand. However, while this perspective was right 20 or 30 years ago, technological advancements like the internet have helped to simplify the process of understanding particular medical terminologies and procedures.
Patients today are more well-informed than their counterparts in the latter half of the 1990s and, as such, have developed the desire to understand their condition and know more about the different treatment options that are available to them. This is, in part, due to the increasing cost of treatment that patients are subjected to which makes their desire for more affordable treatment options an understandable concern (Pear, 2016). Hospital have begun to acknowledge this necessity resulting in new practices being implemented where doctors and nurses become more open when it comes to describing particular procedures, their risks and if potential alternatives could be implemented that would cost less but have the same outcome. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
In summary, this report has shown that patients should have real-time access to all information in their health records since they have the right to not only self-directed treatment options but should also know the cost of their procedure, its relevance to their treatment and its long-term implications for their health. Since they are paying for a service, they should have the right to know what their current condition is, what is being done to them and what their options are. By denying patient’s this fundamental right, this causes them to be suspicious of the doctor and the hospital which can have long-term negative implications when it comes to their adherence to the medical advice given to them that they should follow during post-treatment procedures. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Pear, R. (2016, January 17). New Guidelines Nudge Doctors on Giving Patients Access to Medical Records. New York Times. p. 17.