Evidence on health records for migrants and refugees: Findings from a systematic review

Valentina Chiesa, Antonio Chiarenza, Bernd Rechel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Information on the medical history of migrants and refugees, their test results, vaccinations, diagnoses and medications is often not available, and this fragmentation results in the lack of reliable and timely data for health-care providers interacting with patients and for policymakers to improve health services. Health records (HRs) can help to address some of the challenges that migrants and refugees face in terms of access to health services and continuity of care, as they often move within or between countries and consult different health-care providers and settings. The HRs identified in our review can offer a tool for registering, monitoring and improving the health of migrants and refugees. The evidence on electronic records, which include Electronic Personal Health Records and Electronic Medical Records, shows numerous benefits compared to Patient-Held Records (paper-based records). Importantly, electronic records implemented in strategic spots, such as in cross-border settings, can improve the quality of care and the quality of data recorded; provide access to health information anytime and anywhere; increase the efficiency of the health system; and avoid the duplication of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions such as vaccinations, blood tests and screening for infectious diseases. However, there are also challenges to be overcome, in particular with regard to data protection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Policy and Systems Responses to Forced Migration
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030338121
ISBN (Print)9783030338114
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronic health record
  • Electronic medical record
  • Electronic platform
  • Health record
  • mApp
  • Migrant
  • Personal health record
  • Personal-held record
  • Refugee
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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