Barriers impede provider use, endorsement of PHRs

The low adoption rate of personal health records by consumers may be caused in part by problems that providers are having with the systems, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

PHRs provide a benefit to providers, as well as to patients, in the "ecosystem," and provider endorsement of PHRs may be an important factor in patients' use of PHRs and of positive patient outcomes. The researchers, from the Veteran's Administration, sought to determine how providers' experiences with PHRs related to patient use. They conducted extensive interviews with 30 providers using the My HealtheVet PHR and secure messaging system.

The researchers found that barriers existed that inhibited the providers' PHR adoption and use, which also limited their endorsement of the PHR. The factors included lack of familiarity with and training in the PHR system, the ability to use other resources, and the fact that patients don't share information through the PHR.

The only exception was the PHR's secure messaging function, which was seen by the providers as having a "significant value."  Interestingly, the providers had received training in use of the system.

The researchers suggested that steps be taken, such as better education in the use of PHRs, integration with existing technology, alignment with providers' workflows and incentives to increase the adoption and use of PHRs by providers.

Both Stages 2 and 3 of the Meaningful Use program require increased patient engagement. Studies have found that providers opt for convenience when providing a portal and are more likely to endorse one when they have had a hand in development.

To learn more:
- read the study