It may surprise many Coloradans to know they now have increased access to their medical records – thanks to changes in federal law.
Patient advocates say using those records is key to ensuring quality care.
This week that topic and others were discussed at the Colorado Health Symposium in Denver.
Patient advocate Regina Holliday says today with doctors juggling heavy patient loads, people must take an active role in their health. She calls it participatory medicine.
“Having access can make the difference between having a good outcome or having a very, very bad outcome,” she explains. “Having a good end of life or having one that’s miserable.”
For the last year, most Colorado medical facilities have been transitioning to an electronic records system, with the help of federal dollars.
By accepting that money, Holliday says those facilities are obligated by law to provide patients access to their records within four days of a request.
Holliday became a patient advocate after her now deceased husband was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer. She now travels around the country teaching others what she learned.
Holliday believes having access to his records and double-checking doctors’ decisions could have changed the outcome.
“Yes, he could be alive today because he could have gotten the treatment protocol that would have saved him,” she says. “But unfortunately, we didn’t have that kind of access. So, he not only died, he died badly.”