Swedish patients’ access to their psychiatric notes

I’m very thrilled that my PhD student Annika Bärkås has published the first paper for her PhD thesis! For a thesis in our field in Sweden, it is expected to have at list 4 papers in your PhD thesis, and at least two of them should be published at the time of the PhD defense (2 can be in manuscript form or submitted). Annika was registered late last year, and needless to say, having a publication already is quite impressive! The paper is published open access and you can find it here:

Bärkås A, Scandurra I, Rexhepi H, Blease C, Cajander Å, Hägglund M. Patients’ Access to Their Psychiatric Notes: Current Policies and Practices in Sweden. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Aug 30; 18(17):9140. 

In this study, Annika researched how psychiatric records (and specifically the notes in them) are shared throughout Sweden. Giving patients online access to their records have been a long journey, but since 2018 all Swedish regions are sharing. Psychiatric records have however been controversial and in the early days only a few regions gave their patients online access to these records. Here we explore if this has changed and how patients today can access these records.

Overview of how psychiatric notes are shared in Sweden (from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/17/9140/htm)

As you can see, 4 regions are still not sharing psychiatric records with patients, but according to the answers given to Annika in this study, the all plan to do so in the near future. We found this highly interesting, not the least considering the controversy remaining (within Sweden and internationally) regarding potential risks of sharing health records from psychiatric care with patients. This study does not give us much insight into the benefits or risks of this practice, but this will be further explored in Annika’s PhD thesis where she will (within the NORDeHEALTH project) explore both patient’s and healthcare professional’s experiences more in-depth.

So keep a look out for further results from Annika Bärkås in the near future!

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