GeneralOriginal Article

Use of Patient Authored Prehistory to Improve Patient Experiences and Accommodate Federal Law

Michael J. Warner, DO, CPC; Thomas J. Simunich, MS, MBA; Margaret K. Warner, DO; and Joseph Dado, MS
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: May 18, 2016

Accepted: July 13, 2016

Published: February 1, 2017

J Osteopath Med; 117(2): 78-84

Context: Although federal law grants patients the right to view and amend their medical records, few studies have proposed a process for patients to coauthor their subjective history in their medical record. Allowing patients to fully disclose and document their medical history is an important step to improve the diagnostic process.

Objectives: To evaluate patients’ office experience before and after they authored their subjective medical history for the electronic health record.

Methods: Patients were mailed a prehistory form and presurvey to be completed before their family medicine office visit. On arrival to the office, the prehistory form was scanned into the electronic health record while the content was transcribed by hospital staff into the appropriate fields in the history component of the encounter note. Postsurveys were given to patients to be completed after their visit. Pre- and postsurveys measured the patients’ perception of office visit quality as well as completeness and accuracy of their electronic health record documentation before and after their appointment. Medical staff surveys were collected weekly to measure the staff’s viewpoint of the federal law that allows patients to view and amend their medical records.

Results: Of 405 patients who were asked to participate, 263 patients aged 14 to 94 years completed a presurvey and a prehistory form. Of those 263 patients, 134 completed a postsurvey. The pre- and postsurveys showed improved patient satisfaction with the office visit and high scores for documentation accuracy and completeness. Before filling out the prehistory form, 116 of 249 patients (46.6%) agreed or strongly agreed that they felt more empowered in their health care by completing the prehistory form compared with 110 of 131 (84.0%) who agreed or strongly agreed after the visit (P<.001). Staff members agreed that patients should have the right to view and amend their medical records in accordance with federal law.

Conclusions: Empowering patients to contribute subjective information to their electronic health record has the potential to improve the diagnostic process. When conducting a medical encounter, the authors recommend having patients complete a prehistory form beforehand to improve the patient experience while accommodating federal law.

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