Primary care records have traditionally served the needs and demands of clinicians rather than those of the patient. GP contracts in England state practices must promote and offer registered patients online access to their primary care record and research has shown benefits to both patients and clinicians of doing so. Despite this, we know little about patients’ needs and expectations regarding online access.
To explore patients’ views about accessing online primary care records and to find out how patients would like to interact with their records and what support they may need.
Interviews and focus groups with a sample of 50 patients from a variety of socio-demographic backgrounds who were either; eligible for the NHS Health Check; had multimorbidities or were carers. Thematic analysis of data identified major themes impacting upon patients’ wishes and needs as well as highlighting population-specific issues.
Participants highlighted a wide range of views about the benefits and drawbacks of accessing their records online. The majority of participants indicated that they would be more likely to access their online primary care record if improvements were made to the design, reliability and functionality of existing online record services. Carers found accessing online records particularly useful.
Consultation with patients and carers about their experiences of accessing online records; support needs and preferred functions can provide useful insights to inform the future design of online record services.