To explore the integration of online patient Record Access within UK Primary Care, its perceived impacts on workload and service quality, and barriers to implementation.
Mixed format survey of clinicians, administrators and patients. Telephone interviews with non-users.
Primary care centres within NHS England that had offered online record access for the preceding year.
Of the 57 practices initially agreeing to pilot the system, 32 had adopted it and 16 of these returned questionnaires. The 42 individual respondents included 14 practice managers, 15 clinicians and 13 patients. Follow-up interviews were conducted with one participant from 15 of the 25 non-adopter practices.
Most professionals believed that the system is easy to integrate within primary care; while most patients found it easy to integrate within their daily lives. Professionals perceived no increase in the volume of patient queries or clinical consultations as a result of Record Access; indeed some believed that these had decreased. Most clinicians and patients believed that the service had improved mutual trust, communication, patients’ health knowledge and health behaviour. Inhibiting factors included concerns about security, liability and resource requirements. Non-adoption was most frequently attributed to competing priorities, rather than negative beliefs about the service.
Record access has an important role to play in supporting patient-focused healthcare policies in the UK and may be easily accommodated within existing services. Additional materials to facilitate patient recruitment, inform system set-up processes, and assure clinicians of their legal position are likely to encourage more widespread adoption.
Pagliari, Claudia, Shand, Tim, Fisher, Brian, JRSM short reports, 3(5), 34, DOI: 10.1258/shorts.2012.012009