Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices about Electronic Personal Health Records: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Region of Northern Italy

J Med Syst. 2024 Apr 17;48(1):42. doi: 10.1007/s10916-024-02065-z.


The Electronic Personal Health Record (EPHR) provides an innovative service for citizens and professionals to manage health data, promoting patient-centred care. It enhances communication between patients and physicians and improves accessibility to documents for remote medical information management. The study aims to assess the prevalence of awareness and acceptance of the EPHR in northern Italy and define determinants and barriers to its implementation. In 2022, a region-wide cross-sectional study was carried out through a paper-based and online survey shared among adult citizens. Univariable and multivariable regression models analysed the association between the outcome variables (knowledge and attitudes toward the EPHR) and selected independent variables. Overall, 1634 people were surveyed, and two-thirds were aware of the EPHR. Among those unaware of the EPHR, a high prevalence of specific socio-demographic groups, such as foreign-born individuals and those with lower educational levels, was highlighted. Multivariable regression models showed a positive association between being aware of the EPHR and educational level, health literacy, and perceived poor health status, whereas age was negatively associated. A higher knowledge of the EPHR was associated with a higher attitude towards the EPHR. The current analysis confirms a lack of awareness regarding the existence of the EPHR, especially among certain disadvantaged demographic groups. This should serve as a driving force for a powerful campaign tailored to specific categories of citizens for enhancing knowledge and usage of the EPHR. Involving professionals in promoting this tool is crucial for helping patients and managing health data.

Keywords: Electronic personal health records; Health data; Patient-centered care; Telemedicine; e-health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronics
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Records, Personal*
  • Humans
  • Italy