Providing patients online access to their primary care computerised medical records: a case study of sharing and caring

Inform Prim Care. 2010;18(1):41-9. doi: 10.14236/jhi.v18i1.752.


Background: Healthcare systems are struggling to deliver high quality care and constrain costs as more people live longer with a greater burden of disease. Providing patients with access to their records and with practice specific health information may improve the quality of care.

Objective: To describe one practice's experience of providing patients with access to their primary care records.

Subjects and setting: Approximately 12 200 patients, registered with a semi-rural practice based on two sites, have been offered online access to their records.

Method: A description of strategies used to encourage patients to sign up for access to their records. This includes the development of a practice-based web portal regularly updated with health advice.

Results: Six percent of the patients in the practice now have access to their records via an explicit consent process. There are over 100 000 viewings of the practice web portal. There have been no problems as a result of providing access. Further developments include developing a new process for patients unable to provide consent in nursing homes.

Conclusions: This case study provides a model of how to set up patient access to electronic records.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computer Security
  • Confidentiality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / organization & administration*
  • Middle Aged
  • Organizational Case Studies*
  • Patient Access to Records*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult