Background: Innovators have piloted improvements in communication, changed patterns of practice and patient empowerment from online access to electronic health records (EHR). International studies of online services, such as prescription ordering, online appointment booking and secure communications with primary care, show good uptake of email consultations, accessing test results and booking appointments; when technologies and business process are in place. Online access and transactional services are due to be rolled out across England by 2015; this review seeks to explore the impact of online access to health records and other online services on the quality and safety of primary health care.
Objective: To assess the factors that may affect the provision of online patient access to their EHR and transactional services, and the impact of such access on the quality and safety of health care.
Method: Two reviewers independently searched 11 international databases during the period 1999-2012. A range of papers including descriptive studies using qualitative or quantitative methods, hypothesis-testing studies and systematic reviews were included. A detailed eligibility criterion will be used to shape study inclusion. A team of experts will review these papers for eligibility, extract data using a customised extraction form and use the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) instrument to determine the quality of the evidence and the strengths of any recommendation. Data will then be descriptively summarised and thematically synthesised. Where feasible, we will perform a quantitative meta-analysis. Prospero (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews) registration number: crd42012003091.