The patients' active role in managing a personal electronic health record: a qualitative analysis

Support Care Cancer. 2015 Sep;23(9):2613-21. doi: 10.1007/s00520-015-2620-1. Epub 2015 Feb 5.


Purpose: The complexity of illness and cross-sectoral health care pose challenges for patients with colorectal cancer and their families. Within a patient-centered care paradigm, it is vital to give patients the opportunity to play an active role. Prospective users' attitudes regarding the patients' role in the context of a patient-controlled electronic health record (PEPA) were explored.

Methods: A qualitative study across regional health care settings and health professions was conducted. Overall, 10 focus groups were performed collecting views of 3 user groups: patients with colorectal cancer (n = 12) and representatives from patient support groups (n = 2), physicians (n = 17), and other health care professionals (HCPs) (n = 16). Data were audio- and videotaped, transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: The patients' responsibility as a gatekeeper and access manager was at the center of the focus group discussions, although HCPs addressed aspects that would limit patients taking an active role (e.g., illness related issues). Despite expressed concerns, PEPAs possibility to enhance personal responsibility was seen in all user groups.

Conclusions: Giving patients an active role in managing a personal electronic health record is an innovative patient-centered approach, although existing restraints have to be recognized. To enhance user adoption and advance PEPAs potential, key user needs have to be addressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Electronic Health Records / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Qualitative Research