Webinar: Digital Health and Patient Access, 6th April 2021 (8)

3 April, 2021


Thank you for your insights and I am sorry to hear about a breach of patient confidentiality by health professionals.

Where a health professional shares a patient record with the patient, at their request, this is of course not a breach of confidentiality as the data is about the patient so not confidential about that patient when shared with that patient -- indeed the patient has given much of the information to the health record already.

Trust is important and we found that up to 35% of patients had errors or omissions when viewed by patients. This is also a matter of trust that patient access to records can mitigate by viewing errors and notifying the errors to the service provider that processes the record.

*“Sharing electronic health records: the patient view.”*

*Informatics in Primary care 2006 14.55-7 British Computer Society*

*Dr John Powell MA Bchir MSc PhD MRCPsych MFPHM *

*Caroline Fitton Temporary researcher*

*Dr Richard Fitton MB BS MRCGP DCH DRCOG*


Fifty consecutive attenders to one general practitioner [RF] who agreed to take part were given a paper printout of their full primary care electronic health record. Patients were excluded if they had a severe acute medical or

psychological problem, or were unable to complete the task, as judged by the practitioner. Each patient was given an information sheet about the project and two coloured pens. They were asked to highlight information which they considered to be incorrect with one colour, and information that they would not want to be shared on the national electronic database of records with the other colour.

Ten respondents (32%) each identified one piece of incorrect information in their records. Further investigation showed that three of these ‘inaccuracies’ were disagreements by patients over diagnostic labels given to them, but the data had been recorded as intended by the practitioner. One inaccuracy was of a patient believing they had a drug sensitivity when the notes identified them as having no sensitivities. The errors identified by the other six respondents were audited by cross-checking with paper records and correspondence, and all were found to be due to simple errors in manual data transcription or data entry. Three related to incorrect dates. The other three concerned incorrect clinical information.

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data. Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com