Adoption of PHRs – Where are we going?

April 22, 2011

Two recent articles on PHR adoption caught my attention this week:

  • From ComputerWorld -Consumers remain wary of personal health records – reporting on the IDC survey which shows that 23.4% reported that they were somewhat comfortable or very comfortable with Google or Microsoft collecting their health information. 28% of the respondents indicated that they would use a PHR system if their physician recommended doing so. 10% indicated that they did not use one because of infrequent need for medical care and 10% indicated they did not trust the security of Internet sites.
  • Can genomics encourage use of personal health records? An extended report from a presentation by John Halamka about PHRs and genomics. He notes two things that will drive PHR adoption:
    1) health plans that require more patient interaction and shared decision-making with the provider
    2)  features such as the ability to securely email physicians, pay bills, refill prescriptions, get specialist referrals and make appointments, that is PHRs tethered to EHRs will be the consumer’s preference. He also sees a future opportunity to integrate personal genomics into PHRs. He talks about his own experience with personal genomics.

Based on these two articles, there is reason for optimism about growth in adoption of PHRs but may be conservative growth. Drivers of that growth will be: recommendation by providers (participatory medicine), tethered to an EHR so much of the data is already there, and being future rich.

Two additional features I think will be useful for patients are: connection with social media (such as, sharing one’s data selectively with private disease and condition communities, such as, or and connection with wellness apps and mobile devices both of which are offered by Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault).

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2 Responses to “Adoption of PHRs – Where are we going?”

  1. Privacy is so important to patients. Who wants their private information to their physician open to everyone? Not I. Patients have a need to feel secure. I also agree that PHRs tethered with EHR will make a difference to the patients willingness to use.

    Marie Conrad

  2. Barbara Duck says:

    When it comes to sharing data, privacy comes and and as long as a consumer is ok with knowing that their information they contribute is sold, then ok. Programs like Screen Scraper and there are many others out there who collect this data. You can see big companies listed on Screen Scraper’s web site.

    I use a PHR, do you? I say that as it is a consumer product and last I looked we are all consumers? One other item too that is slowing down consumers with adapting a PHR is the real lack of role models, in other words, does the Surgeon General use the Surgeon General’s PHR? I did a couple posts about this and in the world of social networks we live today we don’t hear any of this and yes too, kudos to Dr. Halamka as well as we certainly have a full share of what I call magpies out there who talk about how everyone else should use one, and then I find they don’t use one themselves.

    I even wonders if Francis Collins, head of the NIH, who just recently announced on the heals of HealthVault adding image storage if he uses one since he recommends putting genomic information into a PHR and he says so much of family background of course is free, just ask:)

    I do agree when the information is provided for patients, like Kaiser does with their closed system, it works much better with a higher level of use and more patients see the value at the same time.

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