Patient access to health records, health literacy and health outcomes

27 June, 2022

Testing the health literacy of twenty Bangladeshi patients before and 5 months after they begin to access their GP electronic record | British Journal of General Practice ( [2018]

Evidence shows that patients with access to their records have less attendances with, and make less phone calls to, their family doctors and they manage their long term conditions better. (1) Citizens with higher health literacy and knowledge of their own healthcare have better health outcomes. (2) (3) (4) They attend A and E and use emergency treatment centres less often and they are more compliant with treatment. Health literacy is a product of memory, reason and imagination.

Medical records supplement the patients’ memory.

Our study utilised questionnaires to measure patients’ knowledge of their own medical record before, and four months after having access to the record.

2. The King’s Fund “Supporting people to manage their health – an introduction to patient activation” Judith Hibbard Helen Gilburt 2004 [Note from HIFA moderator: 2014]

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3. The evolving concept of health literacy Don Nutbeam,, Social Science & Medicine Volume 67, Issue 12, December 2008, Pages 2072–2078

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4. Health literacy as a public health goal: a challenge for contemporary health education and communication strategies into the 21st century, Don Nutbeam

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, A27, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

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*Conclusion* The audit showed that patients who can access their records improve their understanding of their medical and therapeutic history. This technology is available in many countries and training requirements are

described with patient histories. It is planned to stage a larger study in a practice which is not yet allowing patients to access the complete GP record.

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