Patient perceptions of carrying their own health information: approaches towards responsibility and playing an active role in their own health – implications for a patient-held health file
Iedema, R and Forsyth, R and Maddock, CA and Lasserre, MN, Patient perceptions of carrying their own health information: approaches towards responsibility and playing an active role in their own health - implications for a patient-held health file, Health Expectations: an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy, 13, (4) pp. 416-426. ISSN 1369-6513 (2010) [Refereed Article]
Objective To elicit patients’ views on whether they could contribute to improvements in their care by carrying their own health information to clinician encounters; and to consider the implications for the development of a patient-held health file (PHF).
Background Increasing rates of chronic disease lead to health care being delivered by multiple care providers often at distributed geographic locations. As a way of increasing the availability of patient information to care providers our project will trial a PHF. Patients carry these files to doctors’ appointments where clinicians record data for other doctors or the patient. Increasing the availability of patient information is anticipated to enhance the safety and quality of care delivery and improve health outcomes.
Study design Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 patients. Participants were evenly distributed in terms of gender, aged 60 years or greater and visited at least two specialists and one general practitioner.
Findings In this exploratory study, patients who were currently active in decision making about their own health already recorded some health information. They were receptive to carrying their information and thought they should take some responsibility for their health. Patients who were more passive in making decisions about their health did not perceive a need to carry their own information and felt that their doctors communicated adequately.
Conclusion Patient-held health files provide an opportunity for patients to access their health information. Such files have the potential to improve health outcomes for patients who adopt both active and passive roles in relation to their own health and engaging with their health information.
health information; patient empowerment; patient participation; personal health records