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Use of a Patient-Accessible Electronic Medical Record : Patient and Physician Experiences

Posted Nov 18 2008 12:16am

Use of a Patient-Accessible Electronic Medical Record: Patient and Physician Experiences: " At the start of the trial, patients were uniformly positive about the idea of having facilitated access to their records, and the experience of access did not dampen that enthusiasm. Although physicians expressed concerns initially, they viewed patient-accessible records much more favorably after none of these concerns materialized. "

This paper reviews the pros and cons of the PMR ( an EMR provided to the patient by the clinic) very well. It considers both the patient's point of view - as well as the doctors.

The potential downsides ( for the patient's point of view) were:
* More questions—Contact the practice with more questions between visits.
* Worry more—Read things that would make you or them worry more.
* Reports confusing— Find the lab and radiograph reports confusing.
* Notes offensive— Be offended by some of the things that the doctor wrote about them.
* Notes confusing—Find the doctors' notes confusing.

The upsides were:
* Feel more in control of their medical care.
* Better understand their medical conditions.
* Be better prepared for their doctor visits.
* Feel more reassured.
* Better understand their doctors' instructions.
* Better follow their doctors' recommendations.
* Trust their doctor more.
* Find mistakes which their doctors could correct in their records.

This article provides a "real-life" experience of what happens when PMRs are used in the real world, and is well worth reading. I especially liked the following suggestions for improvement.

1. electronic notification ( "alerts") when anything is added to the record so that he would not waste time reviewing his records when nothing was new.
2. some sort of aid that would help interpret laboratory and other diagnostic tests, so that they could better assess the significance of a laboratory or test finding.
3. attaching hyperlinks to define technical terms and providing some means for patients to annotate their records when they find errors.

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