Online personal medical records: Are they reliable for acute/critical care?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To provide an introduction to Internet-based Online Personal Medical Records (OPMRs), to assess their use and limitations in acute/critical care situations, and to identify potential improvements that could increase their usefulness. Design: A review of publicly available Internet-based OPMRs conducted in April 2001. Data Sources: Twenty-nine OPMR sites were identified in March 2000 using ten Internet search engines with the search term "Personal Medical Records." Through 2000 and 2001, an additional 37 sites were identified using lists obtained from trade journals and through the author's participation in standards-setting meetings. Measurements: Each publicly available site was reviewed to assess suitability for acute/critical care situations using four measures developed by the author and for general use using eight measures developed in a standards-setting process described in the article. Results: Of the 66 companies identified, only 16 still offer OPMRs that are available to the public on the Internet. None of these met all of the evaluation measures. Only 19% had rapid emergency access capabilities and only 63% provided medical summaries of the record. Security and confidentiality issues were well addressed in 94% of sites. Data portability was virtually nonexistent because all OPMRs lacked the ability to exchange data electronically with other OPMRs, and only two OPMRs permitted data transfer from physician electronic medical records. Controls over data accuracy were poor: 81% of sites allowed entry of dates for medical treatment before the patient's date of birth, and one site actually gave incorrect medical advice. OPMRs were periodically inaccessible because of programming deficiencies. Finally, approximately 40 sites ceased providing OPMRs in the past year, with the probable loss of patient information. Conclusions: Most OPMRs are not ready for use in acute/critical care situations. Many are just electronic versions of the paper-based health record notebooks that patients have used for years. They have, however, great promise and, with further development, could form the basis of a new medical record system that could contribute to improving the quality of medical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)N196-N201
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number8 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Confidentiality
  • Medical quality
  • Medical records
  • Online medical records
  • Personal medical records
  • Privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Online personal medical records: Are they reliable for acute/critical care?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this