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IMMEDIATE RESULTS: Patients Benefit with More Timely Access to Medical Records

Jul 14, 2021 04:54PM ● By WILLIAM CARRACINO, M.D.

As more and more information becomes available in digital form, patients and healthcare providers have been requesting expanded and more timely access to medical records. To create a common set of standards for sharing electronic health information, the federal government recently published the Interoperability and Information Blocking Final Rule as required by the 21st Century Cures Act.  

The Cures Act is a federal mandate that was created to allow the sharing of electronic health information between health systems, apps and devices. It went into effect on April 5 and requires healthcare providers to immediately release lab and imaging results and provider notes through a patient’s medical record. At Lee Health, the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) is available in the MyChart app.  

With this new rule, results for labs (except HIV), radiology and pathology, and all provider notes (except psychotherapy notes) are now available to patients and their designated proxies in their EHR portal. While patients will have access to their information right away, it is important to note that patients may see a test result before their healthcare provider has had the opportunity to review and interpret, which could lead to some confusion and frustration from physicians and patients alike. 

Health systems can recognize these changes as positive opportunities to increase patients’ engagement in their care and improve their understanding of—and their compliance with—treatment regimens. Additionally, having data more readily available to patients can empower them to make better-informed decisions, leading to better outcomes and improved patient satisfaction.  

Of course, in today’s digital world there is always a concern about the privacy and security of sharing personal information. At Lee Health, keeping patient health information private and secure is a top priority. The MyChart application is fully compliant with federal and state laws pertaining to patient privacy, and it uses the latest encryption technology with no caching to encrypt a patient’s session with MyChart automatically. Unlike conventional email, all messaging is done while the patient is securely logged on to the Lee Health website.  

In addition to communicating with your care team securely, a MyChart account is required to use Lee Health’s telemedicine services. Through telemedicine, patients can securely and conveniently complete routine visits from the comfort of their homes.    

As the largest healthcare provider in Lee County, Lee Health is committed to providing safe, high-quality, compassionate care to its patients. This groundbreaking mandate not only changes the way healthcare professionals talk to patients about information, but shifts the way they connect patients to their health information. Being well informed enables patients to participate in their care and can lead to improved health outcomes and enhanced quality of life.    

For more information, contact [email protected].  


William Carracino, M.D., is Vice President of Medical Information at Lee Health.