Intended for healthcare professionals


Patients’ access to health records

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 02 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5725
  1. Maria Hägglund, associate professor1,
  2. Catherine DesRoches, associate professor2,
  3. Carolyn Petersen, assistant professor3,
  4. Isabella Scandurra, assistant professor4
  1. 1Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  4. 4Informatics, Örebro University School of Business, Örebro, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to: M Hägglund maria.hagglund{at}

Patients and clinicians are equally frustrated by the slow pace of change

The international movement pushing to increase transparency by giving patients easy access to their health information parallels a broader shift in healthcare towards increased patient empowerment and participation. In the United States, the philanthropic OpenNotes initiative works to increase transparency by encouraging healthcare organisations to provide patients with access to notes in their electronic health record. It began in 2010 as a pilot that included 105 volunteer primary care providers and their 19 000 patients12 and has since spread throughout the US, with more than 200 organisations offering roughly 41 million patients access to their clinical notes.3

In Sweden, the first region-wide implementation of patient access to electronic health records was in 2012, more than 10 years after the first pilot study.4 All 21 Swedish regions have now offered this e-service through a national patient portal that integrates with all electronic health record systems currently used in Sweden. More than 3 million …

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