Giving patients online access to their electronic primary care record: experiences and perceptions of practice staff and service users
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The Record Access Collaborative is a voluntary network of clinicians, academics, industry representatives and policymakers interested in emerging Personal Health Record technologies and their impacts on patients and health service providers. This study was commissioned by the Collaborative to explore stakeholders’ experiences with and perceptions of a system that allows patients to access their detailed primary care record online. The specific aims of the analysis were to help understand: 1) How health centres have integrated Record Access into their working practices and its acceptability to providers and recipients of the service 2) How Record Access has influenced clinician behaviour, staff time or workflow, patient self-care and patient-provider relations. 3) The barriers encountered during implementation and any training or support needs that should be addressed 4) Features of the system, or its operational procedures, that may require modification or clarification. This study found overall support amongst clinicians, practice managers and patients for online Record Access. The experience gained from practices participating in this study suggests that Record Access is easy to set up and manage and has few implications for clinical workflow. All three groups articulated benefits that this service will bring to the working practice of health centres, to the health and empowerment of patients, and to the relationships between patients and the health system. At the same time, the study pointed to a number of barriers, uncertainties and areas of improvement that should be addressed before wider deployment. Record access clearly has an important role to play in supporting a more patient focused health system and these findings provide a useful road map for the successful expansion and roll-out of these services.