In Part 1 of our Blog, Becoming a Better Health Advocate, we talked about your rights as a patient and the process for getting your health information from your doctors. But now that you have your information, what are the benefits and what can you do with it?
Benefits of Accessing and Using Your Health Information
Having your medical records readily available can help your healthcare providers make informed decisions about your care, avoid redundant testing, and reduce the likelihood of medical errors. It can also help you track your progress and monitor changes in your health over time.
Reading through your records, such as the clinical notes and observations your doctors write, can help you find potential errors in your record. One study found that 1 in 5 patients who read a note reported finding a mistake and 40% perceived the mistake as serious. Among patient-reported very serious errors, the most common characterizations were mistakes in diagnoses, medical history, medications, physical examination, test results, notes on the wrong patient, and sidedness (incorrect sides of anatomy listed).
While these mistakes may be harmless, they also could lead your doctor to order unnecessary testing, costing you money, or incorrect changes to your treatment and protocol, which could impact your chances of success.
Other known benefits for patients who access and use their own health information during treatment, including:
Improved decision-making: When patients have access to their own health information, they can make more informed decisions about their treatment options. They can also work more collaboratively with their healthcare providers to determine the best course of action for their care.
Feeling more prepared: Accessing your health information, reading it, and having time to think about the contents can help you feel more prepared for appointments, thoughtfully ask questions about things you may not understand, and feel less caught off guard by your care plan.
Increased engagement: Patients who are more engaged in their own healthcare tend to have better perceived health outcomes. Accessing and using health information can help patients feel more in control of their health and take a more active role in their treatment.
Better communication: Access to health information can improve communication between patients and their healthcare providers. Using your records can reinforce trust and confidence in doctors and help you feel like partners in your care. Patients can ask more informed questions and provide more accurate information about their health history, which can help providers make more accurate diagnoses and develop more effective treatment plans.
Improved safety: Access to health information can help patients identify potential errors or omissions in their medical records. One study showed 25% of survey respondents found mistakes in their medical records. This can help to improve patient safety by ensuring that healthcare providers have the most accurate and up-to-date information available.
Cost savings: Patients who have access to their own health information may be able to reduce their healthcare costs by avoiding unnecessary tests or procedures, and by identifying errors or discrepancies in their medical bills.
Grain Fertility Wants to Help
As you go through the fertility treatment process, there is so little we have control over and we often feel overwhelmed, uninformed, and stressed. Grain Fertility aims to help this common feeling by giving you the tools you need to be more organized through the treatment process, dive deeper into your own care and better understand the medical decisions your team is making, and empower yourself and others to be equal partners in your care.
We are excited to help fertility patients through the Grain Fertility app and are actively seeking input from fertility patients to help us make the most effective product possible by incorporating your feedback into the development process.
If you want to make an impact on the care of thousands of fertility patients and make fertility treatment easier for the next person, please consider joining our Pilot and downloading the Grain Fertility app.