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The importance and purpose of consumer health informatics

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Access to health information of individual patients is one of the basic medical rights of citizens. These are usually accessible through your doctors and other health care providers. As time and technology advances, the health care records of patients are also becoming technologically advanced, and this factor has become more interesting to study for researchers. Researches from Murphy-Abdouch et al (2017) and Jacqueline Low (2007) are just two examples of those which discussed about the matter of consumer health informatics, and they are relevant for our topic because these can provide more and important information for our better understanding.

Summary of first article

Jacqueline Low (2007) investigated about the consumer health informatics, particularly in informing consumers and improving health care. First, the author mentioned that there are several issues the online consumer health informatics projects face, including the ethical and security issues, but the particular issue here is about the “lack of critical analysis of the topics pursued within it” (Low, 2007). She also mentioned Lewis et al” findings (2005), claiming that “the Internet is a dangerous source of health information”. There is also a belief that not all online health care information can provide accurate and reliable information for medical experts and patients, and Lewis et al (2005) also finds this as one issue to be considered. Low (2007) has divided the book of Lewis et al (2005) and summarized each chapter, focusing on what each chapter has to offer.

Aside from this, Low (2007) also analyzed the chapters. For Chapters 15 to 20, she found these to be somehow problematic, arguing that the author failed “to meaningfully address such issues as the digital divide and other sociocultural issues surrounding lay people’s ability to make use of consumer health informatics”. Also, the text of Lewis et al (2005) was found out to be lacking of critical discussions regarding digital divide. In conclusion, Low (2007) gave her recommendations for the book, saying that the book needs more organization “in order to keep topics together”. She also mentioned that the text is somewhat repetitive and inconsistent.

Summary of second article

Kim Murphy-Abdouch et al (2017) explored and analyzed how the health consumers perceive their personal health information access and all the other processes concerning it. in their study, they inquired about whether the consumers are requesting and receiving access to their health records, whether there are costs when they request records, and how often they use patient portals and whether they are satisfied with it and with PHRs. Throughout their findings, it was found out that more than half of the majority of consumers or 57 percent do request their health records through the ROI process, and the requests are done in variety: Via online, traditional or paper, and even in CDs, DVDs, and flash drives. As for the portal use, 83 percent of the respondents have providers which have portals, and 82 percent of them actually use these portals. The reasons for not using portals vary from disinterest in their health records and lack of knowledge in using the portals. Meanwhile, for personal health records, only 49 percent of the respondents maintain their PHRs, and they mostly do this through paper and electronic. As for the overall satisfaction of consumers when it comes to their access to personal health information, most of them provided positive comments but there are also some which expressed their negative concerns regarding the entire process.


These two articles have shown the importance and purpose of consumer health informatics for every patient. Through these articles, more consumers will be aware of the need to access and become more knowledgeable about them, especially about requesting for access of their health records. Additionally, these findings can help the medical industry to address the issues and negative concerns regarding the processes on consumer health informatics. Finally, the articles can also help other future researches related to this topic.

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