ONC Data Brief: Opportunities to Improve Utilization of EMRs among Cancer Patients

On January 23, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a data brief on access and use of online medical records among cancer patients. The report found that while individuals recently diagnosed with cancer viewed their record at higher rates compared to those never diagnosed with cancer, online medical records appear to be underutilized by these individuals and there were missed opportunities for many individuals with cancer to benefit from access and use of online medical records.

Key highlights from the data brief:

  • In 2017 and 2018, individuals with a previous cancer diagnosis were offered online access to their medical record by a health care provider or insurer at higher rates than those with no previous cancer diagnosis (60% vs. 50%)
  • Among individuals offered access to an online medical record, nearly seven in 10 individuals with a recent cancer diagnosis viewed their record at least once in the past year – this is higher than those who never had cancer
  • Although rates of viewing online medical records were higher, this group did not report greater use of most functions of online medical records (such as help in making a medical decision about an illness) compared to individuals without cancer

Cancer patients are more likely to see multiple physicians to manage their complex diseases and electronic medical records are appropriate tools to help patients manage their diseases. ONC recommends physicians consider the important and unique characteristics of those with a recent cancer diagnosis as they expand the use of electronic medical information systems in their practices.

The ONC is tasked with providing leadership for the national integration of health information technology into the clinical care setting. More information can be found on the ONC website.



For more information visit the McDermottPlus Payment Innovation Resource Center or contact Sheila Madhani at 202-204-1459 or smadhani@mcdermottplus.com.