Mental Health Care Professionals’ Appraisal of Patients’ Use of Web-Based Access to Their Electronic Health Record: Qualitative Study

Antonius Mattheus van Rijt, Pauline Hulter, Anne Marie Jansen, Kees Ahaus, Bettine Pluut*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Patients in a range of health care sectors can access their medical health records using a patient portal. In mental health care, the use of patient portals among mental health care professionals remains low. Mental health care professionals are concerned that patient access to electronic health records (EHRs) will negatively affect the patient's well-being and privacy as well as the professional's own workload. Objective: This study aims to provide insights into the appraisal work of mental health care professionals to assess and understand patient access to their EHRs through a patient portal. Methods: We conducted a qualitative study that included 10 semistructured interviews (n=11) and a focus group (n=10). Participants in both the interviews and the focus group were mental health care professionals from different professional backgrounds and staff employees (eg, team leaders and communication advisors). We collected data on their opinions and experiences with the recently implemented patient portal and their attempts to modify work practices. Results: Our study provides insights into mental health care professionals' appraisal work to assess and understand patient access to the EHR through a patient portal. A total of four topics emerged from our data analysis: appraising the effect on the patient-professional relationship, appraising the challenge of sharing and registering delicate information, appraising patient vulnerability, and redefining consultation routines and registration practices. Conclusions: Mental health care professionals struggle with the effects of web-based patient access and are searching for the best ways to modify their registration and consultation practices. Our participants seem to appraise the effects of web-based patient access individually. Our study signals the lack of systematization and communal appraisal. It also suggests various solutions to the challenges faced by mental health care professionals. To optimize the effects of web-based patient access to EHRs, mental health care professionals need to be involved in the process of developing, implementing, and embedding patient portals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28045
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021

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