Potential impacts of patient access to their electronic care records

Inform Prim Care. 2005;13(1):55-60. doi: 10.14236/jhi.v13i1.579.


This paper examines the interest and expectations of patients having access to their electronic care records. Semi-structured prospective interviews were performed with 109 patients in a community setting in London where all records are stored digitally either as coded data, free text or scanned in from the paper original. A booth had recently been set up for patients to access their electronic records in the waiting room with secure access through fingerprint recognition technology. The interviews detailed history and levels of interest in access, impact on relationship with clinician, familiarity with digital media and issues of security and accuracy. Patients were more interested in seeing their electronic than their paper record; they felt it would improve their relationship with their clinician; they generally trusted in the security of their records; they anticipated that there would be some mistakes; they were enthusiastic about the idea of adding to the record themselves, but were divided about having access over the internet. Patients are confident in and anticipate the value of having access to their electronic records.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Computer Security
  • Female
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Access to Records* / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations