Towards consumer-friendly PHRs: patients' experience with reviewing their health records

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2007 Oct 11;2007:399-403.


Consumer-friendly Personal Health Records (PHRs) have the potential of providing patients with the basis for taking an active role in their healthcare. However, few studies focused on the features that make health records comprehensible for lay audiences. This paper presents a survey of patients' experience with reviewing their health records, in order to identify barriers to optimal record use. The data are analyzed via descriptive statistical and thematic analysis. The results point to providers' notes, laboratory test results and radiology reports as the most difficult records sections for lay reviewers. Professional medical terminology, lack of explanations of complex concepts (e.g., lab test ranges) and suboptimal data ordering emerge as the most common comprehension barriers. While most patients today access their records in paper format, electronic PHRs present much more opportunities for providing comprehension support.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Comprehension*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*
  • Medical Records*
  • Patient Access to Records*
  • Patient Satisfaction