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Health Bull (Edinb). 1992 Mar;50(2):143-50.

Patient on-line access to medical records in general practice.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, University of Glasgow.


Many patients want more information about health and the computer offers tremendous potential for interactive patient education. However, patient education and the provision of information to patients will be most effective if it can be tailored to the individual patient by linkage to the medical record. Furthermore the Data Protection Act requires that patients can have access to explained versions of their computer-held medical record. We have examined the practicality and possible benefits of giving patients on-line access to their medical records in general practice. Seventy patients (20 males; 50 females) took part in the study. Sixty five of these used the computer to obtain information. The section on medical history was most popular, with 52 people accessing it. More than one in four of the problems were not understood until the further explanation screen had been seen. One in four also queried items or thought that something was incorrect. Most patients obviously enjoyed the opportunity to use the computer to see their own medical record and talk to the researcher. Many patients commented that because the General Practitioner (GP) didn't have enough time, the computer would be useful. Sixty one (87%) (95% CI: 79-95%) thought the computer easy to use and 59 (84%) would use it again. This is despite the fact that 43 (61%) thought they obtained enough information from their GP. This small study has shown that patients find this computer interface easy to use, and would use the computer to look at explanations of their medical record if it was routinely available.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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