Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 63,
November 2011 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Chicago, Illinois November 4-9, 2011.

Online Access for Patients to Their Electronic Medical Record: Advantages, Drawbacks and Preconditions According to Care Providers.

van der Vaart1,  Rosalie, Drossaert1,  Constance H.C., Taal1,  Erik, van de Laar2,  Mart AF

University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Medisch Spectrum Twente & Twente University, Enschede, Netherlands


Technology currently makes it possible to provide patients access to their own electronic medical record (EMR) from the hospital. The purpose of the study was to see if professional practice is ready for this possibility, by mapping the vision of rheumatology care providers on (dis)advantages and preconditions of this service.


18 semi-structured in-depth interviews with 9 nurses (and nurse practitioners) and 13 rheumatologists were conducted. The main aim of the dialogues was to get insight into the motives that care providers have for the acceptation of the possibility to give patients online access to their medical record. Questions were related to the advantages and disadvantages they perceived, the preconditions that they would set and the content that should (or should not) be available to their patients, according to them.


Overall care providers show a very mixed opinion on this topic. Most did see advantages of giving patients access to their medical record. These include: (1) an increase in patients' knowledge, autonomy and involvement in treatment, (2) improvements in communication, (3) opportunities for the patient to look back on medical data and to show it to relatives and their GP, (4) an increase in trust and service offered to the patient and (5) increased patient safety through check-ups of the record by the patients. Yet, most care providers also reported a number of disadvantages, including: (1) a risk of causing fear, turmoil or patients drawing wrong conclusions because of problems with interpretation of (lab)data and difficulties with jargon, (2) a higher workload, (3) an overflow of questions by patients about the EMR during consult, which causes time constraints or delay in consults, and (4) it would be unpleasant and undesirable if patients read their notes. Important preconditions of this service are therefore: good security of data, careful considerations on if, when and how data will be presented to patients and presumably a filter on parts of the EMR.


According to care providers, giving patients access to their medical record might be a valuable next step into patient empowerment and patient safety, provided that there is optimal security and careful consideration of the content and presentation of the data.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
van der Vaart, Rosalie, Drossaert, Constance H.C., Taal, Erik, van de Laar, Mart AF; Online Access for Patients to Their Electronic Medical Record: Advantages, Drawbacks and Preconditions According to Care Providers. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2011;63 Suppl 10 :2414

Abstract Supplement

Meeting Menu