What is the federal 21st Century Cures Act?

The federal 21st Century Cures Act requires that patient electronic health information be made available to patients without delay (with few exceptions), at no cost. This law is designed to give patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information.

Patients play an important role when they serve as part of their own care team. Individual patients are the only ones who have first-hand experience with their health, and when given access to their own health data, help ensure accurate data and can close information gaps that may exist between different providers.

What type of information will be available in Patient Gateway?

Patients have always had the right to request their health records, including results and notes. While most patients at Mass General have had immediate access to their outpatient clinic notes through Patient Gateway since December 2019, more information will be viewable beginning on October 20, 2020. Patients will now have immediate access to:

  • All finalized notes (inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department)
  • Behavioral/psychiatric/mental health notes
  • Clinical results (labs, radiology, pathology, genetics, etc.)
  • Historical results

This means that you may see your results before your provider has had a chance to review them. Please be aware that your provider will need time to review your results in order to discuss them with you.

Can providers block certain notes so I can’t see them?

Providers can choose to block an individual note ONLY if it meets the following federal criteria:

  • The patient requests not to share the note on Patient Gateway.
  • Sharing the note would put your life or physical safety at risk. This can only be used if reading the note would cause SIGNIFICANT harm to you, in the professional judgment of the provider. This is defined specifically as physical injury or death, and not emotional harm.

Where can I view my health information?

You can view your health information online using Patient Gateway (only the web version, not the app.)

What should I do if I see results that concern me?

A button in Patient Gateway allows you to send a message to your provider about your results. Since your provider will need time to review your results before discussing them with you, it is better for you to send them a message via Patient Gateway, rather than call them with questions.