Patients have unrealistic expectations of what an online medical record will be, doctors fear.
A report from the Medical Protection Society (MPS) found 87% of doctors think introducing online records will lead to more demanding patients.
One of the biggest issues highlighted in the report is the disparity between the services that patients expect they will receive through online access to their records and what doctors think is realistic in the immediate term.
Dr Stephanie Bown, director of Policy and Communications at MPS says: “We support online access to medical records as a way of helping patients increase their knowledge and understanding, promote autonomy and enhance the doctor-patient relationship.
“However, there are risks that need to be addressed and the current rhetoric does not reflect what is practical and realistic.”
Patients can be more involved in their care, and able to identify mistakes, Bown believes.
The MPS report, which used interviews with GPs and the public showed 25% of patients who already access their records do so to check the accuracy.
Around 40% of the public who would like to be able to make changes to their medical records would like to do so regardless of whether their GP approves of them or not, whilst only 7.5% of doctors would want patients to make changes, without their approval.
More than 25% of the public agree that they should be able to request that their entire medical record is deleted.
Bown said: “There is a common understanding as to what medical records are for and patient and doctors need supporting to develop a collaborative approach to amending medical records to achieve this purpose.”
Over half (54%) of the public would expect a response to an email for “routine support” within a day, compared to only 14% of doctors. This stark difference suggests that what the public expects is at odds with what the doctor think is realistic.
MPS claim there may also be issues around: