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National Survey Highlights Growth in PHR Adoption

Tags: California Health Foundation | Dossia | Health IT | Personal Health Record | Phr

The results of a national survey focusing on consumer perceptions and engagement with health IT were recently released. The survey, which focused mainly on PHRs, was sponsored by The California HealthCare Foundation. Click here to access the report, and see below for a summary of findings.

Here at Dossia we have been asked what we think about the low percentage of respondents interested in accessing an employer sponsored PHR (25% of non-users). Our response: this is the very reason that Dossia was founded as a standalone, non-profit entity that categorically does not share health information with employers but rather maintains a completely private and secure record that is under employees' personal control.

We view respondents' interest in PHRs sponsored by providers and health plans as a function of these entities being the obvious sources of trusted health data. As consumers realize that they can access health information from multiple sources including providers, plans, pharmacies, labs, etc. they will increasingly look for a convenient way to aggregate this information. And this is where Dossia offers a distinct advantage, as Dossia aggregates data from multiple sources.

Patient portals to doctor's EMRs are indeed useful for looking at lab results, scheduling appointments, and messaging doctors but they do not give users control over their health information, and they do not aggregate health information. As the quantity and quality of electronic health information increases, and more connected health devices become available, we expect that consumers will look for a single access to point that gives them greater control over all their health information from professional, personal, and automated sources.

All in all, we at Dossia are excited to see growing interest from consumers for flexible health solutions provided in a personally controlled and private environment and we are committed to delivering these solutions to our Founders and beyond.

Summary of findings:

  • 7% of respondents were using a PHR that's about twice the adoption rate calculated a couple years ago by the Markle Foundation. Use of PHRs is higher in the West (11%), and higher still in California (15%) where Kaiser's MyChart has achieved broad use.
  • About half of users' PHRs were sponsored by their health plan, and about one quarter by their health care provider.
  • 64% of users found it is useful to make sure their health information is accurate, 57% enjoy being able to look at test results, and about half of users find it useful to email providers and renew prescriptions online. Over half of PHR users think that using a PHR makes them feel like they know more about their health, and about the care that their doctor gives them.
  • Though most PHR users tend to be younger, highly educated and of higher income, those with less education and lower income and those with chronic illnesses derive more value from using a PHR including becoming more educated, inquisitive, and proactive about improving their health.
  • Overall, 40% of non-users indicate that they are interested in using a PHR if sponsored by a provider (58%), health plan (50%), company like Google or Microsoft (25%), or employer (25%).
  • Non-users indicate that privacy (76%) and lack of an immediate need (61%) are the biggest barriers to adoption though less than half of PHR users are worried about privacy and two thirds of all respondents agreed that privacy concerns should NOT stop us from learning how (PHR) technology can improve health care.
  • A minority of respondents (42%) have heard of PHRs, compared to 72% who have heard of EMRs.
  • About half (48%) of respondents are interested in home monitoring devices, and a similar proportion (55%) are interested in health applications such as those that allow you to track illnesses, diet, exercise, etc.
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