More than three quarters of general practitioners indicate that they will start offering online access to the medical file for patients in 2020. Due to this short period of use, many of them have not yet been able to form an opinion about this. More than a third of the practices indicate that the first experiences are mainly positive, but 44% also indicate that administrative actions have increased. A large part of the practices also use more ‘lay language’ in the patient file. This is apparent from a survey by Nivel, IQ healthcare and Maastricht University, which was carried out as part of the OPEN programme.
Since July 2020, general practitioners are legally obliged to offer patients electronic access to their medical data. This is mainly done online, using a patient portal. The OPEN program helps general practitioners (practices) with online access for patients and works together with regional coalitions. Commissioned by OPEN, we examined the first experiences with offering online access and the impact it has on the workload in practice via an online questionnaire.
Most general practitioner practices started offering online access in 2020
Almost all surveyed GP practices (88%) arrange online access in collaboration with the OPEN program. Only a small proportion offer this on their own initiative (2%) and 10% of the practices do not use online access, but indicate that they intend to. More than three quarters of the practices that offer online access started in 2020.
Many GP practices have not yet formed an opinion about online access, the rest is mainly positive
A large number of respondents have not yet been able to form an opinion about the first experiences with online access to the medical file by patients. Nor could they say much about the first experiences of their colleagues or patients. It was probably too early for them to answer these questions: the percentage of respondents who answered ‘don’t know (yet)’ is highest for practices that started offering online viewing in 2021, and is significantly lower for practices that started before 2021. The practices that were already able to share the first experiences were much more likely to be predominantly positive than predominantly negative, especially the practices that had experience with this for some time.
Online access often leads to an increase in e-consultations and administrative actions
Of the respondents, 44% indicated that the number of administrative actions and the number of e-consultations has increased due to online access. For about 60% of the practices, the time burden for general practitioners and physician assistants increased or remained the same. The number of consultations in practice and the number of referrals has mainly remained the same, despite the provision of online access.
First experiences of general practitioners with online access to patient records mostly positive
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