Health Services Research & Development

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Secure Messaging between Providers and Patients, and Patients' Access to Their Own Medical Record

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Secure Messaging between Providers and Patients, and Patients� Access to Their Own Medical Record (July 2012)

Principal Investigator: Caroline Lubick Goldzweig, M.D., M.S.
Co-Investigators: Paul G. Shekelle, M.D., Ph.D. Ali Alexander Towfigh, M.D. Neil M. Paige, M.D., M.S.H.S. Greg Orshansky, M.D. David A. Haggstrom, M.D., M.A.S.
Research Associates: Isomi Miake-Lye, B.A. Jessica M. Beroes, B.S.


Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) Center West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; July 2012

Download PDF: Complete Report, Executive Summary, Report, Appendices

Summary / Overview

As the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) expands the capabilities of its personal health record system, My HealtheVet (MHV), and places greater emphasis on encouraging its use, it is interested in understanding how best to prioritize different functionalities and which of them will provide the greatest benefits to Veterans. This systematic review was designed to evaluate the literature surrounding secure messaging systems and electronic applications that give patients access to their own medical records, specifically investigating the evidence that these systems improve health outcomes, patient satisfaction, healthcare utilization and efficiency, and adherence. Additionally, the review examined studies that evaluated attitudes, particularly regarding patients having online access to their own medical information. The review distinguished between electronic systems that were "tethered" or tied to existing healthcare institution systems similar to how MHV is tethered to VHA's EHR, versus those that were "stand-alone."

The Key Questions were:

Key Question #1: What is the association between secure messaging and health outcomes, patient satisfaction, adherence, efficiency or utilization, or automated email? Key Question #2: What is the association between patient access to their own medical record and health outcomes, patient satisfaction, adherence, efficiency or utilization, and attitudes about access?

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