Web-Based Shared Medical Records Useful for Sick Patients

Endorsement and security may encourage more patients to access this resource

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Web-based shared medical records (SMR) may provide an effective way for physicians to conduct non-visit-based health care, specifically for older individuals with diabetes, according to a report published in the November issue of Diabetes Care.

William G. Weppner, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues used data from Group Health Cooperative to evaluate SMR Web site use among 6,185 diabetes patients, aged 65 and older, from August 2003 to December 2007. Of the total number of participants, 1,990 used SMR to access information or communicate with health providers.

The researchers found that higher and increasing morbidity was linked to a greater likelihood of initial and ongoing SMR use. They also found that older patients were three times more likely to utilize SMR within the same month of switching to a provider with secure messaging. Those with the highest morbidity accessed the SMR 1.53 days/month compared to those with lower morbidity who used it 1.25 days/month.

"Findings in our study suggest that Web-based SMRs may provide features that are useful to patients with higher and increasing morbidity and that endorsement and use by their providers is an important factor in motivating engagement," the authors write.

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