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Patients’ Perspectives About Factors Affecting Their Use of Electronic Personal Health Records in England: Qualitative Analysis

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submitted on 2024-05-07, 04:55 and posted on 2024-05-07, 04:55 authored by Alaa Abd-Alrazaq, Zeineb Safi, Bridgette M Bewick, Mowafa Househ, Peter H Gardner

Background

General practices (GPs) in England have recently introduced a nationwide electronic personal health record (ePHR) system called Patient Online or GP online services, which allows patients to view parts of their medical records, book appointments, and request prescription refills. Although this system is free of charge, its adoption rates are low. To improve patients’ adoption and implementation success of the system, it is important to understand the factors affecting their use of the system.

Objective

The aim of this study is to explore patients’ perspectives of factors affecting their use of ePHRs in England.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was carried out between August 21 and September 26, 2017. A questionnaire was used in this survey to collect mainly quantitative data through closed-ended questions in addition to qualitative data through an open-ended question. A convenience sample was recruited in 4 GPs in West Yorkshire, England. Given that the quantitative data were analyzed in a previous study, we analyzed the qualitative data using thematic analysis.

Results

Of the 800 eligible patients invited to participate in the survey, 624 (78.0%) returned a fully completed questionnaire. Of those returned questionnaires, the open-ended question was answered by 136/624 (21.8%) participants. A total of 2 meta-themes emerged from participants’ responses. The first meta-theme comprises 5 themes about why patients do not use Patient Online: concerns about using Patient Online, lack of awareness of Patient Online, challenges regarding internet and computers, perceived characteristics of nonusers, and preference for personal contact. The second meta-theme contains 1 theme about why patients use Patient Online: encouraging features of Patient Online.

Conclusions

The challenges and concerns that impede the use of Patient Online seem to be of greater importance than the facilitators that encourage its use. There are practical considerations that, if incorporated into the system, are likely to improve its adoption rate: Patient Online should be useful, easy to use, secure, and easy to access. Different channels should be used to increase the awareness of the system, and GPs should ease registration with the system and provide manuals, training sessions, and technical support. More research is needed to assess the effect of the new factors found in this study (eg, lack of trust, difficulty registering with Patient Online) and factors affecting the continuing use of the system.

Other Information

Published in: Journal of Medical Internet Research
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.2196/17500

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

JMIR Publications

Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU

Methodology

A cross-sectional survey was carried out between August 21 and September 26, 2017. A questionnaire was used in this survey to collect mainly quantitative data through closed-ended questions in addition to qualitative data through an open-ended question. A convenience sample was recruited in 4 GPs in West Yorkshire, England. Given that the quantitative data were analyzed in a previous study, we analyzed the qualitative data using thematic analysis.