Assessment of Patients' Ability to Review Electronic Health Record Information to Identify Potential Errors: Cross-sectional Web-Based Survey.
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Background Sharing personal health information positively impacts quality of care across several domains, and particularly, safety and patient-centeredness. Patients may identify and flag up inconsistencies in their electronic health records (EHRs), leading to improved information quality and patient safety. However, in order to identify potential errors, patients need to be able to understand the information contained in their EHRs.Objective The aim of this study was to assess patients' perceptions of their ability to understand the information contained in their EHRs and to analyze the main barriers to their understanding. Additionally, the main types of patient-reported errors were characterized.Methods A cross-sectional web-based survey was undertaken between March 2017 and September 2017. A total of 682 registered users of the Care Information Exchange, a patient portal, with at least one access during the time of the study were invited to complete the survey containing both structured (multiple choice) and unstructured (free text) questions. The survey contained questions on patients' perceived ability to understand their EHR information and therefore, to identify errors. Free-text questions allowed respondents to expand on the reasoning for their structured responses and provide more detail about their perceptions of EHRs and identifying errors within them. Qualitative data were systematically reviewed by 2 independent researchers using the framework analysis method in order to identify emerging themes.Results A total of 210 responses were obtained. The majority of the responses (123/210, 58.6%) reported understanding of the information. The main barriers identified were information-related (medical terminology and knowledge and interpretation of test results) and technology-related (user-friendliness of the portal, information display). Inconsistencies relating to incomplete and incorrect information were reported in 12.4% (26/210) of the responses.Conclusions While the majority of the responses affirmed the understanding of the information contained within the EHRs, both technology and information-based barriers persist. There is a potential to improve the system design to better support opportunities for patients to identify errors. This is with the aim of improving the accuracy, quality, and timeliness of the information held in the EHRs and a mechanism to further engage patients in their health care.
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JMIR formative research, 2021, 5 (2), pp. e19074 - ?