Does access to electronic health records by patients improve quality and safety of care?

By Dr Ana Luisa Neves, Research Fellow at the Imperial NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.

Over the last decade, incentives to adopt electronic health records have spread worldwide. Electronic health records offer many advantages, including an easier access to centralised health information by healthcare providers, patients and researchers, ultimately leading to a better coordination of patient care, greater efficiency, and better health outcomes.

The drive towards digital data

Significant progress towards the development and adoption of electronic health records has now been seen in a number of countries including Australia, Estonia, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Initially, care organisations had exclusive access to the data, which was primarily shared with other healthcare professionals for a person’s care.

An international perspective on information for patient safety: What can we learn about measuring safe care?

The fact that patient safety is an important issue in healthcare is not up for debate. We can all agree that it is unacceptable that almost one in 10 patients are harmed while receiving care in the hospital. However, it is also worrying that we rely on estimates of safety levels because of the lack of comprehensive information.

Through a combination of a review of the literature and a qualitative survey of eight organisations, this report compares how health systems measure patient safety. The report of the Leading Health Systems Network (LHSN) 2016 reviews which information sources are used and to what end.