GAO Issues Report on Patient Access to Health Information

On Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled, “Health Information Technology: HHS Should Assess the Effectiveness of Its Efforts to Enhance Access to and Use of Electronic Health Information.” The report, requested by a group of Senators including HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Senator John Thune, found that while providers routinely make electronic health information available to patients and caregivers – a requirement of the Meaningful Use Program - only a relatively small percentage actually access the available data.

The recommendations to the Department of Health & Human Services included developing performance measures to evaluate “outcomes of key efforts related to patients’ electronic access to health information” and “using the information from these measures to help achieve program goals.” The Department has signaled agreement with GAO’s recommendations.