The effects of promoting patient access to medical records: a review.
The Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA) stipulates that patients must be permitted to review and amend their medical records. As information technology makes medical records more accessible to patients, it may become more commonplace for patients to review their records routinely. This article analyzes the potential benefits and drawbacks of facilitating patient access to the medical record by reviewing previously published research. Previous research includes analysis of clinical notes, surveys of patients and practitioners, and studies of patient-accessible medical records. Overall, studies suggest the potential for modest benefits (for instance, in enhancing doctor-patient communication). Risks (for instance, increasing patient worry or confusion) appear to be minimal in medical patients. The studies, however, were of limited quality and low statistical power to detect the variety of outcomes that may result from implementation of a patient-accessible medical record. The data from these studies lay the foundation for future research. (+info)
A randomized controlled trial of a patient-accessible electronic medical record.
Legal and technologic trends are making medical records more patient-accessible. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stipulates that "patients must be able to see and get copies of their records, and request amendments." Medical records are more commonly being stored in electronically, and methods have been developed to share these records with patients in a secure format.1,2 Previous studies of patient-accessible medical records generally only provided limited exposure to the medical record and lacked controls for bias and confounding.3 We performed a 12-month randomized controlled trial of a patient-accessible medical record to further assess the effects of such a program. (+info)
Patients' experiences when accessing their on-line electronic patient records in primary care.
BACKGROUND: Patient access to on-line primary care electronic patient records is being developed nationally. Knowledge of what happens when patients access their electronic records is poor. AIM: To enable 100 patients to access their electronic records for the first time to elicit patients' views and to understand their requirements. DESIGN OF STUDY: In-depth interviews using semi-structured questionnaires as patients accessed their electronic records, plus a series of focus groups. SETTING: Secure facilities for patients to view their primary care records privately. METHOD: One hundred patients from a randomised group viewed their on-line electronic records for the first time. The questionnaire and focus groups addressed patients' views on the following topics: ease of use; confidentiality and security; consent to access; accuracy; printing records; expectations regarding content; exploitation of electronic records; receiving new information and bad news. RESULTS: Most patients found the computer technology used acceptable. The majority found viewing their record useful and understood most of the content, although medical terms and abbreviations required explanation. Patients were concerned about security and confidentiality, including potential exploitation of records. They wanted the facility to give informed consent regarding access and use of data. Many found errors, although most were not medically significant. Many expected more detail and more information. Patients wanted to add personal information. CONCLUSION: Patients have strong views on what they find acceptable regarding access to electronic records. Working in partnership with patients to develop systems is essential to their success. Further work is required to address legal and ethical issues of electronic records and to evaluate their impact on patients, health professionals and service provision. (+info)
Use of a patient-accessible electronic medical record in a practice for congestive heart failure: patient and physician experiences.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the experiences of patients and physicians in a clinical trial of an online electronic medical record (SPPARO, System Providing Patients Access to Records Online). DESIGN: Quantitative data were obtained from questionnaires. Qualitative data were obtained from individual interviews and focus groups. MEASUREMENTS: Questionnaire items were based on issues identified by patients and physicians in previous studies. Individual interviews and focus groups were performed using a semistructured format developed through an iterative process. RESULTS: Of the eight physicians who participated in the trial, seven completed questionnaires and interviews. Of the 394 patients in the practice, 107 enrolled in the study, and 54 were assigned randomly to the intervention group. Of these, 41 used SPPARO during the trial period. In questionnaires and interviews, patients were significantly more likely than physicians to anticipate benefits of SPPARO and less likely to anticipate problems. Attitudes of subjects did not diverge from controls after the intervention period. In posttrial focus groups, SPPARO users described its practical benefits. Comprehending medical jargon was a minor obstacle. Physicians anticipated that implementing SPPARO might increase their workload and distort their clinical interactions. In posttrial interviews, physicians and staff reported no change in their workload and no adverse consequences. All of the physicians ultimately supported the concept of giving patients online access to their clinical notes and test results. CONCLUSION: SPPARO was useful for a number of patients. Physicians initially voiced a number of concerns about implementing SPPARO, but their experience with it was far more positive. (+info)
Patient experiences and attitudes about access to a patient electronic health care record and linked web messaging.
OBJECTIVE: Patient access to their electronic health care record (EHR) and Web-based communication between patients and providers can potentially improve the quality of health care, but little is known about patients' attitudes toward this combined electronic access. The objective of our study was to evaluate patients' values and perceptions regarding Web-based communication with their primary care providers in the context of access to their electronic health care record. METHODS: We conducted an online survey of 4,282 members of the Geisinger Health System who are registered users of an application (MyChart) that allows patients to communicate electronically with their providers and view selected portions of their EHR. To supplement the survey, we also conducted focus groups with 25 patients who were using the system and conducted one-on-one interviews with ten primary care clinicians. We collected and analyzed data on user satisfaction, ease of use, communication preferences, and the completeness and accuracy of the patient EHR. RESULTS: A total of 4,282 registered patient EHR users were invited to participate in the survey; 1,421 users (33%) completed the survey, 60% of them female. The age distribution of users was as follows: 18 to 30 (5%), 31 to 45 (24%), 46 to 64 (54%), 65 and older (16%). Using a continuous scale from 1 to 100, the majority of users indicated that the system was easy to use (mean scores ranged from 78 to 85) and that their medical record information was complete, accurate, and understandable (mean scores ranged from 65 to 85). Only a minority of users was concerned about the confidentiality of their information or about seeing abnormal test results after receiving only an explanatory electronic message from their provider. Patients preferred e-mail communication for some interactions (e.g., requesting prescription renewals, obtaining general medical information), whereas they preferred in-person communication for others (e.g., getting treatment instructions). Telephone or written communication was never their preferred communication channel. In contrast, physicians were more likely to prefer telephone communication and less likely to prefer e-mail communication. CONCLUSION: Patients' attitudes about the use of Web messaging and online access to their EHR were mostly positive. Patients were satisfied that their medical information was complete and accurate. A minority of patients was mildly concerned about the confidentiality and privacy of their information and about learning of abnormal test results electronically. Clinicians were less positive about using electronic communication than their patients. Patients and clinicians differed substantially regarding their preferred means of communication for different types of interactions. (+info)
Patient-perceived usefulness of online electronic medical records: employing grounded theory in the development of information and communication technologies for use by patients living with chronic illness.
OBJECTIVE: Patient use of online electronic medical records (EMR) holds the potential to improve health outcomes. The purpose of this study is to discover how patients living with chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) value Internet-based patient access to electronic patient records. DESIGN: This was a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive study using in-depth interviews and focus groups of a total of 12 patients with IBD of at least one-year duration at University Health Network, a tertiary care center in Toronto, Ontario. RESULTS: Four themes have been elucidated that comprise a theoretical framework of patient-perceived information and communication technology usefulness: promotion of a sense of illness ownership, of patient-driven communication, of personalized support, and of mutual trust. CONCLUSIONS: For patients with chronic IBD, simply providing access to electronic medical records has little usefulness on its own. Useful technology for patients with IBD is multifaceted, self-care promoting, and integrated into the patient's already existing health and psychosocial support infrastructure. The four identified themes can serve as focal points for the evaluation of information technology designed for patient use, thus providing a patient-centered framework for developers seeking to adapt existing EMR systems to patient access and use for the purposes of improving health care quality and health outcomes. Further studies in other populations are needed to enhance generalizability of the emergent theory. (+info)