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J Telemed Telecare. 2002;8 Suppl 2:103-5.

Patients' access to their online electronic health records.

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  • 1Bury Knowle Health Centre, Oxford, UK.


We surveyed a randomized group of 1050 adult patients stratified for age and sex, from a general practice in Oxfordshire, to find out their attitudes to electronic health records (EHRs). Eighty-six per cent thought that patients should have the right to see their records. While 72% knew that they had the right to see their records, only 4% had done so. Private EHR viewing booths with a computer and fingerprint identification system were installed in the primary care centre. Patients were randomly selected from those who responded to the questionnaire and wished to view their EHR. Of the 100 patients who saw their online EHR, 99 found the session useful and 84 found their records easy to understand. Three focus groups were held with 14 patients who said that they did not want to access their EHRs. The reasons patients gave during the focus groups included that they trusted their general practitioner and thought it would imply a lack of confidence. After the focus groups, 11 patients changed their minds and accessed their records. We believe that patient-accessed EHRs will offer substantial benefits to patients, health professionals and the National Health Service as a whole.

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