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Unlocking access to patient records and aiding decision-making

Unlocking access to patient records and aiding decision-making

Mark Barone, Angela Coulter Maria Hagglund, Michael Barry

Empowered and engaged patients have been described as “the block- buster drug of the century,”1 but all too often this aspect of patient care is neglected. The COVID-19 pandemic has, and continues to be, an immense challenge for individuals, communities and health systems. However, it has also been an opportunity to rethink how care is delivered and patients are engaged. The response to the pandemic meant that physical interac- tions were restricted in many countries and digital tools have often been seen as a solution. In this report we use the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic to examine how digital tools can empower and engage patients. We start by reflecting on how digital tools can support patients as they manage their health and their interactions with a health system (Section 1). We then focus on two examples that are fundamental to empowering patients to make choices around their care: patient portals allowing people to access their medical records (Section 2), and patient decision aids to facilitate informed involvement in treatment choices.

Executive Summary