PHR usage is even lower in England than in the U.S.

The minuscule uptake of personal health records isn't just an American phenomenon. In fact, PHR usage is even lower in England.

Of the 1.2 million people with PHRs--called the Summary Care Record--through England's National Health Service, just 752 individuals have logged on via the HealthSpace portal to view their records, E-Health Insider reports. Again, that's 752 people among 1.2 million who have Summary Care Records--similar to the Continuity of Care Document that's gained moderate traction as a means of sharing records between providers in the States--for a 0.062 percent usage rate.

As of last month, just 2,257 patients had registered for an "advanced account," allowing them to access their records. The 752 who have logged on represent about one-third of that group. But this is for a country with a population of 52 million. (There are separate NHS operations in other parts of the UK.) Last summer, the Connecting for Health agency postponed plans for a nationwide expansion of the Summary Care Record. A month ago, the British Medical Association called on the Department of Health to suspend Summary Care Record implementation until patients are given the right to opt out of the system.

The low usage may be attributed to the fact that not all health regions are set up to offer advanced accounts, and that the process for registering for one is "onerous," E-Health Insider says. "We are looking a number of ways to improve HealthSpace including the potential development of a secure, online registration process," a Department of Health spokesperson tells the publication.

To learn more:
- check out this E-Health Insider story