Access to personal medical records (6) Impact of access to personal medical records

22 March, 2021

"What is the evidence of impact?"

Research evidence reports positive outcomes (Ref 2.3) among patients accessing their records, and the concerns expressed by healthcare professionals have not been realised. Patients who read their notes report understanding their care plans better, (Ref 3) feeling more in control of their care (Ref 2,3), doing a better job taking their medications (Ref 4), improved communication with and trust in their clinicians (Ref 2), and improved patient safety (ref 5).


1. Editorials Patients’ access to health records Editorials BMJ 2019; Maria Hägglund, associate professor,

2. Patients’ experiences of accessing their electronic health records: national patient survey in Sweden. J Med Internet Res2018; Moll J, Rexhepi H, Cajander Å, et al

3. OpenNotes after 7 years: patient experiences with ongoing access to their clinicians’ outpatient visit notes. J Med Internet Res2019;

4. Patients managing medications and reading their visit notes: a survey of OpenNotes participants. Ann Intern Med2019; DesRoches CM, Bell SK, Dong Z, et al

5. When doctors share visit notes with patients: a study of patient and doctor perceptions of documentation errors, safety opportunities and the patient-doctor relationship. BMJ Qual Saf2017; Bell SK, Mejilla R, Anselmo M, et al

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT