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A faulty production line

Questionnaire for patients wishing access to their records

Dr Amir Hannan’s questionnaire assesses that patients understand consent and confidentiality issues

1 I am doing this questionnaire for myself Yes / No

2 If you answered no to question 1, who are you doing it for? (Please state your relationship) _______________

3 Can you read and understand English? Yes / No

4 Have you registered for ordering repeat prescriptions and booking appointments online? Yes / No

5 Are you happy to use passwords to access your record? Yes / No

6 After you have been to the doctor or to the hospital, you can check if the encounter has been recorded and what was discussed. Do you agree this is a good reason to have access to your records? Yes / No

7 Would you like to feedback what you think of the Records Access system? Yes / No

8 There may be an instance when accessing your medical records online, you may read some information that could be shocking or upsetting. What do you do if this happens and you cannot speak to your doctor/nurse immediately? (Please tick all that apply)

- Wait until you see the doctor / nurse for them to explain further

- Panic and get worked up

- Look at reputable websites like NHS Choices or check the self care section on the practice website (if applicable)

- Wait and contact the practice the next working day

- Contact NHS Direct (111) to get further information

- Contact GoToDoc, the Out of Hours service

- Go to A&E for further help

9 You see a new letter has arrived in your electronic health record. You open up the letter to find it is about another patient in the practice. What do you do?

- Read it and tell that person what you have read

- Inform the practice

- Don’t tell anybody about it

10 Would it upset you if you read something somebody else has said about you with regards to your health?

- No

- Yes - I don’t want this information kept in my record

- Yes - You should not believe what others say

- Yes - this could destroy our relationship

- Don’t know

11 Do you feel you understand what ‘records access’ means? Yes / No

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Readers' comments (5)

  • A good idea to check the understanding of patients and accessing their medical records. However...
    Q 7 - Should really be the final question.
    Q8 - Should also have 'confusing' included as I think this is where most people may struggle when viewing their records.
    Q8 & Q9 - Should also tell the patient what they 'should or could' do in this instance.
    Q10 - Clarify who 'somebody' is . Nurse? GP, Receptionist? Cleaner??
    Q10 - What might they have 'said?' Do you mean detrimental? negative? insulting? kind? positive? supportive? ... this should be clear.
    Q10 - Do GPs, nurses etc... really make records of their views that they can not discuss face to face with the actual patient therefore creating an 'awkward' situation??

    Just some thoughts.

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  • I think these other questions are the common concerns that patients have about access to their records. I think that they are probably shared with the clinician. I guess an open discussion about the premise and at the time of registration would avoid pitfalls later.

    It would be useful if there have been other pitfalls.

    I think it really does stand as a testament that this has been rolled out for 8 years without a major incident.

    not many innovations within the NHS can claim such success.

    This is going to be the new standard. Patients will expect it and I think it will be great for patient care. It will ultimately make us more productive.

    With regards to Point 10, I must admit that when I type it is not really with the point of view that a patient will read this. I will need to adapt how I record things in the notes. a small price to pay!!

    - anonymous salaried!!

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  • Great comments raised. The questionnaire is not a "stand alone" - it simply tries to raise the important issues that patients and carers should consider. Question 7 was originally quite a big question about how to feedback if there were any concerns raised and what to do. It is higher up the list because psychologically we want people to finish with a positive thought in their head and not a "negative" one.

    Following the questionnaire, patients receive an email which informs them that they have got access to their records. This includes information on what to do to help them understand their records including the practice website as a resource.

    We provide a glossary for abbreviations which we add to when we come across new abbreviations

    Essentially we have built a workflow to support patients and families. The questionnaire is just one part of the process. There are other aspects such as preparing our reception staff, informing what our clinicians say to patients and also learning how to promote this inside the consulting room which is where the "magic" really happens. Patients are invited to raise questions wherever they may be - we call this "teachable moments". Watch this video to see what this is about.

    The questionnaire is really an opportunity to inform patients that healthcare is available 24/7 for all. This is not an IT solution but rather a way of delivering care in the 21st century which every clinician, manager and patient / carer needs to know about. This is the paradigm shift in healthcare. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to know more and be able to offer this for your practice too using your own resources too.

    Let's join together and build the future now! or @amirhannan

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  • Patients have a right access their records under the DPA - there is no need for a questionnaire, if it affects your relationship with them in future, so be it.

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  • Patients can already request a printed copy of their medical records, easy to do and in most cases free of charge.

    My concern would be when different doctors have written contradictory statements e.g. one doctor tells you to stop a particular medication, a week later another doctor says you must continue taking it .. so it is important that continuity of care is available.

    How far back in their records will a patient be able to go?

    What happens if something written is factually incorrect?
    Will patients be suing a practice for given wrong information, withholding information or giving contradictory advice?

    Not all doctors are as good as they should be so this does open up cause for concern … but I still feel anything written about me, I have a right to see / access.

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