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National survey finds PHR usage is still low, but growing

Americans are still wary of putting their personal health information online, but a recent survey shows that personal health record (PHR) usage is growing, and consumers are discovering the benefits of accessing their health information electronically.

The survey, released by the California HealthCare Foundation, found that only about 7 percent of people have used a PHR, but that’s more than double the 2.7 percent of Americans who reported using a PHR in 2008. This represents a 159% increase in PHR usage in just two years. John from Chilmark notes, however, that Chilmark Research found PHR adoption to be around 3.5 percent in that market.

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • Most PHR users feel they have learned something about their health, and have taken some action to improve their health as a result of using a PHR.
  • PHR users with low incomes or chronic conditions are more likely to report some benefit from using a personal health record.
  • Consumers would prefer to use a PHR system provided by their doctors or insurers, rather than a system provided by a technology company.
  • Privacy concerns remain one of the biggest barriers to PHR adoption. However, these concerns decrease significantly for consumers who are actually using a PHR system.

Survey respondents who said their doctors were using electronic health records indicated a stronger interest in using PHR systems. Is your health organization using a PHR service? Head on over to our IT Answers section to respond to the question “How valuable are personal health records to your organization?

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