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© Freda Mold, Mary Raleigh, Nouf Sahal Alharbi, Simon de Lusignan. Background: Online access to computerized medical records has the potential to improve convenience, satisfaction, and care for patients, and to facilitate more efficient organization and delivery of care. Objective: The objective of this review is to explore the use and impact of having online access to computerized medical records and services for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in primary care. Methods: Multiple international databases including Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library were searched between 2004 and 2016. No limitations were placed on study design, though we applied detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria to each study. Thematic analysis was used to synthesize the evidence. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Toolkit was used to appraise study quality. Results: A search identified 917 studies, of which 28 were included. Five themes were identified: (1) disparities in uptake by age, gender, ethnicity, educational attainment, and number of comorbidities, with young men in full-time employment using these services most; (2) improved health outcomes: Glycemic control was improved, but blood pressure results were mixed; (3) self-management support from improved self-care and shared management occurred especially soon after diagnosis and when complications emerged. There was a generally positive effect on physician-patient relationships; (4) accessibility: Patients valued more convenient access when online access to computerized medical records and services work; and (5) technical challenges, barriers to use, and system features that impacted patient and physician use. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Toolkit rated 3 studies as 100%, 19 studies as 75%, 4 studies as 50%, and 1 study scored only 25%. Conclusions: Patients valued online access to computerized medical records and services, although in its current state of development it may increase disparities. Online access to computerized medical records appears to be safe and is associated with improved glycemic control, but there was a lack of rigorous evidence in terms of positive health outcomes for other complications, such as blood pressure. Patients remain concerned about how these systems work, the rules, and timeliness of using these systems.

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Journal article


Journal of Medical Internet Research

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