New publication: The Record is our Work Tool! – Physicians’ Framing of a Patient Portal in Sweden

A new DOME publication is now out :-).

The publication is found here. It concerns physicians and the effects on their work environment of the system Journalen that lets patients read their medical record online. 

Background to the study

Uppsala County in Sweden launched an eHealth patient portal in 2012, which allows patients to access their medical records over the Internet.

The launch of the portal was critically debated in the media. See for example:

  1. Nätjournal kan bli lexbaseskandal in Västmanlands Läns Tidning
  2. Kritisk till utformning av nätjorunaler in UNT
  3. Nätjournaler kan vara en patientrisk, in Svenska Dagbladet
  4. Kritik mot att nätloggar läggs ut på nätet in Läkartidningen

The professionals were strongly skeptical, and one reason was possible negative effects on their work environment. This study therefore investigates the assumptions and perspectives of physicians to understand their framing of the patient portal in relation to their work environment.

What did we do?

A total of 12 interviews were conducted with physicians from different specialties at Uppsala Akademiska Hospital.

The interviews were transcribed and translated.

What did we find that was interesting?

  • The physicians held a negative attitude and expected changes, which would affect their work processes in a negative way.
  • Especially the fact that patients might read their test results before the physician was seen as possibly harmful for patients and as an interference with their established work practices.
  • They expected the occurrence of misunderstandings and needs for additional explanations, which would consequently increase their workload.
  • Other perceptions were that the portal would increase controlling and monitoring of physicians and increase or create a feeling of mistrust from patients.
  • Regarding benefits for the patients, most of the physicians believe there is only little value in the patient portal and that patients would mostly be worried and misunderstand the information provided.

For further information, please read the paper!