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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