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Access to Medical Records Not Linked to Increased Anxiety

Last Updated: May 23, 2011.

Providing cancer patients with full access to their medical records may increase their satisfaction without increasing anxiety, according to a study published online May 23 in Cancer.

MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Providing cancer patients with full access to their medical records may increase their satisfaction without increasing anxiety, according to a study published online May 23 in Cancer.

Gwenaelle Gravis, M.D., from the Paoli-Calmettes Institute in Marseille, France, and colleagues evaluated the impact of providing 336 newly diagnosed cancer patients with systematic full access (SFA) to their organized medical records (OMRs). The patients, who had received adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, colon cancer, or lymphoma, were randomly allocated into a requested access (RA) group (where they had to request access to information and medical records), or the SFA group (where they automatically received access to their OMRs). Anxiety was assessed before, during, and after treatment using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and quality of life was assessed before and at the end of treatment using the European Organization for Research and Cancer quality-of-life questionnaire. At the end of treatment, patients' satisfaction and perception of their OMRs were evaluated.

The investigators found that almost 98 percent of patients who were given the opportunity to obtain an OMR did so. There was no increase in anxiety levels in the SFA group, and no significant difference compared with anxiety levels in the RA group. Patients in the SFA group were more satisfied with the information and felt they were sufficiently informed, but the differences were not statistically significant.

"Future studies need to be implemented in the context of the electronic medical file, which provides patients with secured, direct access to their records, even from home," the authors write.

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