Most Patients Given Access to PHRs Don’t Utilize
A study in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association has found that few patients being treated for hypertension by 24 different primary care physicians who had been provided with personal health records (PHRs) connected to their EHRs. The existence of the PHRs also had no impact on the patients' blood pressure, medical utilization or perceived quality of care. Only 26% of patients used their PHRs "frequently." And only the most frequent users of the PHRs saw reductions in their blood pressure. The rate of PHR use decreased with older patients and increased for those who identified themselves as having better computer skills.
Researchers noted that the results could impact success of stages 2 and 3 of Meaningful Use, since proposed criteria include use of patient-facing electronic health management tools, suggesting that stage 2 of Meaningful Use may not produce changes in patient health outcomes. The researchers are hopeful that an increase in use of mobile technology may reduce technical disparities among patients and expand PHR access.