While the themes of access to patient health data by physicians or patients via a personalized medical record system (DMP) are more relevant than ever, we look back on the experience of the Portland VA Medical Croatia Email List that we found plenty of lessons. Behind the medical use of these data, we retain above all the desire of patients to become actors of their health before being consumers … From 2000 to 2010, the US Department of Veterans Affairs allowed nearly 7,500 patient volunteers to ” access their entire medical file onlinethrough the MyHealtheVet pilot program. Enrolled patients could electronically access clinical notes and reports, hospital discharge notes, symptom lists, vital signs, ongoing treatments, allergies, appointments, lab and imaging test results … They could also manually enter personal data such as blood pressure, blood sugar level, or their weight.

In her study , Susan Woods, a physician in the R&D department at Portland VA Medical Center (VA for Veterans Affiairs, the department of veterans) looked at the experience of patients accessing their medical records online through the views and feedback from 30 patients and 6 patient family members who were collected through 5 focus groups.

Better communication between patients and healthcare professionals

According to the patients interviewed, one of the benefits of this program is better communication with healthcare professionals. Access to the online medical record is described as an additional means of communication preventing the patient from recalling the advice given by a doctor during an appointment several months ago. Responding patients also announced better monitoring of scheduled medical appointments, and asking more relevant questions during these appointments. They were also able to coordinate more effectively the dependent and independent care of the Veterans’ Department that they were receiving. All of the medical records …

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Although generally positive,patient feedback has shed light on sensitive points . A small number of patients mentioned derogatory vocabulary designating them in some clinical notes. Other negative elements were cited by some patients, such as the stress felt by the wife of a veteran who had operated on reading the operation report. These elements are quite logical in the end, because the more we know, the more we are likely to worry … A better knowledge of his medical file, does it encourage self-medication? In all of the 5 discussion groups created, patients indicated using the internet to learn moreon diagnoses performed, tests performed or abbreviations contained in reports read.


Towards a patient 2.0

Overall, this study shows that patients with full access to their medical records were more involved . They more easily followed their treatments and their appointments. They learned more about their health problems and could discuss them with health professionals. These findings apply particularly to a new generation of connected patients.who always learn more about health topics. It remains to know the point of view of the medical staff on access to the medical file, the possible overload of work on their side to complete computerized interfaces, the public and health will to systematize these practices … when such practices? What approach and what support for patients and healthcare professionals? To be continued….

While the information gleaned from their research has enabled some patients to better prepare for their medical appointments, others have substituted this research for appointments. This point is rather worrying, and thus shows the stake of the sharing of precise medical information of the patient which has advantages, limits, but also presents risks. It seems logical that this type of approach should be accompanied by a deep education of patients on what to do in case of a question …

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