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HealthSpace not living up to expectations

18th November 2010

A new study has claimed that the government’s personal health record project HealthSpace is not popular with patients.

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A research team headed by Professor Trish Greenhalgh from Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry found HealthSpace was neither useful nor easy to use.

Figures show that just 0.13% of those offered the chance to open an advanced HealthSpace account had done so and that the functionality was poorly aligned with patient expectations.

According to the study published in the BMJ, patients were disappointed with the amount and type of data available, the need to enter data themselves and the limited options for sharing this data with their clinician.

Between 2007 and October 2010, 172,950 people had opened a basic HealthSpace account and 2,913 patients (0.13%) had opened an advanced account which would allow them access to their Summary Care Record.

Professor Greenhalgh and her team said the risk that personal electronic health records would be abandoned or not adopted was “substantial” unless they were closely aligned with people’s attitudes.

They also said that the low use of HealthSpace in the UK contrasted with the use of personal health record systems in the US.

However, the Department of Health defended HealthSpace and said the research was more a "historical snapshot rather than insight into patients’ needs and expectations".

A DH statement said: “Our own research, conducted during 2009, showed that patients were keen to have access to their medical records as well as wanting medical updates and test results to be available online.”

 

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