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Patients Have Strong Ideas About Electronic Records

Vital resource untapped as patient perspective is absent from medical literature

TUESDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Patients expect increased use of electronic personal health records to transform the way they interact with the health care system, and their opinions could help strengthen the design of new patient record technologies, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Jan Walker, R.N., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 82 adults who were frequent internet users with an interest in health-related matters. They were recruited into eight focus groups of consumers, patients, and health professionals.

Privacy was more of a concern to health professionals than it was to patients, particularly those who are chronically and acutely ill, the investigators found. Health care consumers and patients expect increased use of technology to give them access to customized information and home-based communication with clinicians, the research revealed.

"Our findings suggest that consumers and health professionals from widely different walks of life share concrete and congruent ideas about how information technologies will help patients become more proactive in managing health and illness," the authors write. "Consumers are surprisingly open to implantable devices, and they view computers as becoming personal partners, enabling individuals to take responsibility for health maintenance and minor illness."

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