EPHRSElectronic Public Health Record System (Kentucky)
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Thus, our definition of ePHRs is a set of electronic tools providing patients with a comprehensive view of and timely access to their health information, entered and maintained by them and/or their healthcare professionals, and allowing patients to be custodians of their information and exert a certain amount of control over it (from deciding who can access their information to fully controlling the information), as well as giving them the ability to manage, track, and participate in their own healthcare.
We distinguish four categories of ePHRs that can be encompassed in this definition.
(10,24) Indeed, there are few ePHRs available for the Canadian population and they are neither widely known, nor used.
Nevertheless, healthcare stakeholders have a great interest in the adoption and use of ePHRs, because of the potential benefits associated with them.
We used a qualitative descriptive design in order to provide rich descriptions of ePHRs in Canada and to improve understanding of the topic.
See Table 2 for a summary of the most important adoption themes identified by the participants in regards to ePHRs and Appendix 2 for selected quotes from the interviews for each theme.
We noticed that 22 participants had a view of ePHRs corresponding to only one of the two dimensions of the definition that we presented in the introduction: information visualization by the patient (11) or patient management of the information (11).
Seventeen participants from all groups mentioned simplicity of the language used, availability of the information, system reliability and ease of access as design options that could improve usability and relevance of ePHRs. They also identified attractive layout, customization available to cater to patient needs, mobility and technology that withstands technological advancements as other interesting options to improve usability.
Five participants from all groups but professionals and ePHR administrators noted that since health falls under provincial jurisdiction in Canada, each province has a different level of e-health implementation, possibly leading to a variable interest in ePHRs.
Eight participants believed that some patient populations may be more interested in ePHRs than others.
However, this study also identifies issues that are less common in the literature or brought interesting subtleties to some known issues: emphasis on patients with chronic diseases, custody and control of these records, legislation related to ePHRs, and the different points on the definition of ePHRs.
Also, the lack of consensus on the definition of ePHRs may seriously impact their implementation.