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Improving access to electronic health records for people with intellectual disability: a qualitative study

K. van Dooren, N. Lennox, M. Stewart,

Academic Literature


People with intellectual disability represent ~2-3% of the Australian population and experience elevated rates of mortality and morbidity compared with the general population. People with intellectual disability, and their families and carers, must keep track of extensive medical information while also managing turnover of paid staff, general practitioners and other health professionals, making them beneficiaries of Australia's new eHealth record system. Although they are key users, there is a lack of knowledge about the accessibility of the system for individuals with intellectual disability, or those responsible for managing their health information. This is a missed opportunity to improve the lives of an already overlooked group. This study aimed to identify the facilitators and barriers to registering for an eHealth record network for people with intellectual disability and those supporting them to manage their health information. We interviewed potential users of eHealth records, including four people with intellectual disability, three family members and two residential support workers. Our findings suggest that decision-makers involved in the roll-out of the eHealth record networks should incorporate 'reasonable accommodations' to improve accessibility for people with intellectual disability and those who support them to manage their health information. This includes identifying and eliminating the barriers to accessibility of eHealth records and taking appropriate measures to promote access to individuals with intellectual disability. People with intellectual disability and the people who support them are a diverse group with a range of abilities. The translation of their views into practice will help to improve the eHealth system for this and other vulnerable population groups.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Australian Journal of Primary Health

Domain/s: Economic participation

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