In January 2018, focus
groups were conducted with members of Health Quality Ontario's (HQO) Patient, Family and Public Advisors
Council (PFPAC) to explore the topic of patient access to medical/health
records for a potential public report.
Council members were asked to reflect on
their experiences of accessing medical records (e.g., paper or digital) and to
consider situations where they wanted to have access to their records but were
unable to do so.
The narrative was
summarized, and key themes were identified.
These themes were then cross-referenced against the findings from
rapid review of literature
on the effects of patient
access to their own medical/health records to look for alignment between
patient and caregiver experiences and the academic literature.
Overlap was found for all 4 of the
noted positive effects of having access to medical/health record categories:
On health outcomes (1/7):
psychosocial health outcomes (e.g. anxiety, depression)
On health behaviour changes (4/4): adherence, patient involvement, coping
ability, overall behaviour change
On patient-provider relationship (2/3): patient-provider communication,
perception of the relationship
On patient experience/satisfaction
knowledge/retention (of medical condition/status/treatment), satisfaction
(overall, or with care, communication, experience or information), usefulness,
patient attitude/acceptance, patient empowerment (sense of control),
continuity/quality of care, access to support/knowledge
The PFPAC discussion helped HQO better
interpret and understand research findings; moreover, it highlighted what
really matters from the patient and caregiver perspectives.
We’d like to hear from you!
What are your patients’ abilities to
access their electronic medical records?
How do your patients use them to
discuss their care with you?
As a patient, family member or caregiver,
can you access your medical records?
How do you use your electronic medical
records to discuss your care with your provider?