Personal Health Record Use on the Rise in U.S., Survey Finds

Although the number of U.S. residents using personal health records has more than doubled since 2008, usage rates remain relatively low at 7%, according to a survey released Tuesday by the California HealthCare Foundation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. CHCF is the publisher of iHealthBeat.

Lake Research Partners conducted the survey of about 1,850 U.S. residents in December 2009 and January 2010.

PHR Usage Findings

When asked about the most useful elements of PHRs, researchers found that:

  • 64% of respondents said they appreciate the ability to check whether their health data is correct;
  • 57% said they like using PHRs to look at test results; and
  • 50% said they value the ability to contact their health care providers.

Characteristics of PHR Users

The survey found that younger, highly educated individuals with higher incomes are more likely to use PHRs.

However, researchers noted that low-income people with less education and multiple chronic conditions are likely to reap greater benefits from the technology (Mearian, ComputerWorld, 4/13).

People Without PHRs

The survey also found that 40% of people without access to PHRs expressed interest in using such tools (Gruenwald, Tech Daily Dose, 4/13).

When non-PHR users were asked about how they would like to access a PHR:

  • 58% cited their health care provider;
  • 50% cited their health plan;
  • 36% cited Medicare or another government group;
  • 35% cited a not-for-profit organization;
  • 25% cited a third-party organization such as Google or Microsoft; and
  • 25% cited their employer (Kolbasuk McGee, Information Week, 4/13).

Privacy Concerns

The survey also found that 68% of respondents expressed concerns about medical privacy in PHRs (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 4/13).

However, among those who use PHRs, 47% said that they are "not too worried" about their data privacy while 11% said they were "very worried" (Vesely, Modern Healthcare, 4/13).

Michael Perry, partner at Lake Research Partners, added that 66% of respondents said privacy concerns should not hinder efforts to adopt new technology designed to improve care (Enrado, Healthcare IT News, 4/13).

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