Greater implementation of EHRs could spur PHR adoption

Although several factors have hindered widespread adoption of personal health records, experts say PHR use could increase as more physicians transition from paper-based systems to electronic health records, Computerworld reports. Lygeia Ricciardi, HHS senior policy adviser for consumer e-health, said consumer use of PHRs “is not incredibly high, but it is growing.” She cited a recent Deloitte survey that found PHR use increased from 3 percent in 2008 to 11 percent in 2011. Liz Boehm, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, said PHR adoption has been slow partially because consumers face a fragmented market. For example, health insurers might offer PHR tools that contain claims information but lack clinical data, while physician offices might offer PHR tools that contain clinical data but cannot link to a patient’s pharmacy or another health care provider’s system. In addition, some consumers might be reluctant to adopt PHRs because most tools require them to upload information manually. Ricciardi said many consumers “can’t easily get their information in an electronic form,” adding, “If they’re trying to use a stand-alone product and type it in all by hand, that’s tough. When it becomes … easy to download their information, I foresee interest in the area growing.” As more physicians adopt EHR systems to comply with federal mandates, Ricciardi said she expects to see a “spillover effect” that will boost consumer access to electronic health data and thereby fuel PHR adoption.


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