New Publication: Patients reading their medical records: differences in experiences and attitudes between regular and inexperienced readers

The national patient survey related to medical records online has resulted in a new publication. This one is focusing on older patients and their use of the system. The paper is a collaboration with the HIBA project in Finland led by professor Isto Huvila. The team behind the paper also included Jonas Moll, Heidi Enwald, Noora Hirvonen and Rose-Mharie Åhlfeldt.

The results are not super surprising, but still relevant. Older patients are more likely to use the phone when seeking clarification, whereas younger people use the internet. There are clear clear age differences shown in the data.

The abstract is coped below. And the full paper is available online:


Introduction. Patient accessible electronic health records can be used to inform and empower patients. However, their use may require complementary information seeking since they can be difficult to interpret. So far, relatively little is known of the information seeking that takes place in connection to health record use, and especially the way it varies in different age groups. A better understanding of patients’ preferences of where and how to find explanatory information provides valuable input for the development of health information provision and counselling services.

Method. The analysis is based on the results of a national survey of Swedish individuals (N=1,411) who had used a national patient accessible electronic health record system (Journalen).

Analysis. The data were analysed in SPSS 24.0 using Kruskal-Wallis tests for detecting group-wise differences and Jonckheere-Terpstra tests for discovering age-related trends in the data.

Results. Older patients were more likely to use a telephone and younger patients to use social contacts to ask for clarification. Generally, older adults born between 1946–1960 appear as passive information seekers.

Conclusion. Age groups differ in their preferences on how to seek clarification, which underlines the importance of a better understanding of individual differences in delivering not only technically but also intellectually accessible health information. Calling by telephone could be a habit of present older generations whereas, to a degree, searching information online could be a comparable habit of current younger generations.

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