Study: PHR adoption can be influenced by provider behavior

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Adoption of publicly available public health records by consumers has been low due to concerns about data security and accuracy. A possible solution to this is explored in the Journal of Medical Internet Research in an article titled: "If We Offer it, Will They Accept? Factors Affecting Patient Use Intentions of Personal Health Records and Secure Messaging."

The solution, presented by doctors from Fairfax, Va., and researchers from the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems at the University of Maryland, involves the provision of PHRs by employers pre-populated with patients' health data. This type of technology increasingly is being offered to employees "as a mechanism for greater patient engagement in health and well-being," according to the authors.

The group theorized and empirically tested how factors such as patient activation and provider satisfaction, in addition to technology and organization, affect patient intentions to utilize a PHR. They concluded that "individual and environmental factors influence intentions to use the PHR." Communications tactics installed by individual organizations during the PHR rollout increased the use intentions of providers, which in turn satisfied patients more, according to the report.

"The findings highlight the importance of communication tactics and technology characteristics and have implications for the management of PHR implementations," the authors said.

To gain understanding of the types of functionality that would be most valuable for patients, the survey included a list of 17 PHR features, including links providing information about potential drug interactions, and links enabling patients to store and manage medical images, as well as record and manage healthcare expenses. Respondents then rated the features on a 1-7 Likert Scale anchored with "not at all useful" (1), "neutral" (4), and "very useful" (7).

A study published last October in Perspectives in Health Information Management found that age, education level and income were not good indicators of patients' willingness to adopt PHRs. Other previous studies have shown that people are willing to manage their own health records, but are complacent when it comes time to actually doing so.

To learn more:
- read the JMIR study

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