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Personal Health Record Use is On the Rise
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Donna DuLong

A recent report states that Personal Health Record (PHR) usage is low, but has doubled in the past two years.  A personal health record is an electronic record of health information on an individual.  The PHR also offers a set of tools to improve communication and convenience to better manage one's health.  The report was conducted by the California HealthCare Foundation, and found that one in 14 Americans say they have used a PHR.  Even more important is that consumers with online access to their health information pay more attention to their health.
These findings support wider dissemination of PHRs, especially for individuals with chronic conditions that require constant monitoring, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  Having easy access to their health information online is really the key.  Americans pay more attention and become more engaged in their health and medical care when this information is readily accessible.  As a result of their PHR, consumers have been taking steps to improve their own health, learning more about how to manage their health, and asking their doctors questions they would not otherwise have asked.

Consumers tend to prefer to use a PHR from their health care provider.  Many people are still concerned about the privacy of their health information, however, their concern is reduced the more that they use a PHR and experience the benefits of improved communication with their health care team and access to educational tools.  Both PHR users and non-users say we should not let privacy concerns stop us from learning how online tools can improve health care.  Of those consumers that do not have a PHR, 40% express interest in using one.

In the study, more than 60% of healthcare consumers agree that they wish their doctors had more time to talk to with them about their health and their loved one's care.  The PHR has been shown to improve the communication between doctors and patients, and can be an additional way for the consumer to obtain accurate and timely information about their health.  More than half of the consumers also report that keeping track of their health information is difficult, and the PHR is another vehicle to help organize health information.  More than half of the PHR users reported the source of their PHR was their insurer.  Free PHR resources are available to anyone that is interested, including Google and Microsoft.

Example resources:

California HealthCare Foundation.  April 2010 Available online at http:///

Tags   personalhealthrecord, phr, seniors, chronicallyill

About This Blog

PHRs are still fairly new to the healthcare system, and we understand that as healthcare consumers, you have questions about the benefits and risks of keeping a PHR. For this reason, we provide a communication forum – the Seniors’ Blog – to connect you with health information management professionals for tips and advice on creating and maintaining your own PHR. This section of also provides resources and educational material about PHRs to answer some of your questions and help you determine if a PHR is right for you.

Blog Contributors

Marsha Dolan, Valerie Watzlaf, Cindy Boester, Heidi Shaffer, Julie Wolter, Margaret Hennings, Colleen Goethals, Vera Rulon, Leah Grebner, Robert Caban, Mynilma Olivera-Vazquez, Amanda Bushey, Margie Kelly, Donna DuLong, Sarah Dietze, Valisha McFarlane, Maria Kovell, Ted Eytan, Leann Reynolds, Laura Heuer, Kristin Stewart, Derek Allen, Chris Matthies, Margo Corbett, Craig Newmark, Sarah Buelterman, Skyler Tanner, Aniruddha Malpani, Joan Malling, Marilyn McFarlane, Megan Rooney, Patrick Rhone, Dr. Carrie Nelson, Maria Bouselli, Erin Jordan


PHRs do more than manage medication. Stay up to date with information that can help you communicate with your doctor and stay out of the hospital.

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