Personal Health Record Use is Poised for a Significant Upswing, Finds Frost & Sullivan

Consumer sentiment shifts but direct revenue opportunities remain limited

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- There are numerous challenges around getting consumers interested in using Web-based personal health records (PHRs). Still, consumer adoption is steadily growing due to greater awareness of the value of PHRs, increased use of electronic health records by physicians and hospitals, and new mobile technology tools that enhance PHR usability and functionality.  While it has been a bumpy ride for numerous large and small technology vendors, the PHR tipping point is not a question of if, but when.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan's ( The U.S. Personal Health Records Market: Understanding Technical and Strategic Imperatives around Consumer-Focused Health IT research finds the market for PHR software generated revenues of $312.2 million in 2010 and estimates that revenues will reach $414.8 million in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8 percent. This research looks at a range of technical and strategic issues facing the PHR market including market segmentation (mainly divided between "tethered" and "untethered" PHRs), key issues impacting growth, and the competitive landscape devoted to providing PHR platforms, products and services.

If you are interested in more information on this research, please send an email to Britni Myers, Corporate Communications, at [email protected] with your full name, company name, job title, telephone number, company email address, company website, city, state and country.

Growing consumer engagement with health IT is happening through payers, providers and employers. This is a critical market force with widespread implications for all healthcare participants. Although significant direct sales revenue for technology vendors will likely be limited in the short term, a wide and growing range of opportunities exist across this emerging market for vendors well positioned to partner with payers and providers.

Over the past decade, the notion of the "empowered health consumer" has been bandied about. The term refers to an individual, or an individual's family member, who is actively engaged with healthcare providers and payers as an informed participant in critical health decisions.  Obviously, access to personal health information is required for one to be an "informed participant." Theoretically, this is where PHRs come in as essential technology tools. But uptake of PHRs has been slow and the market for these technology tools has not taken off as expected, causing many once enthusiastic participants, including big name technology vendors, to abandon the space. In 2010, it was estimated that only around 7 percent of the U.S. population was using a PHR—usually for keeping track of a chronic health condition.

"Many PHRs have yet to define a specific and desirable customer benefit," said Frost & Sullivan Analyst Jessica Ryan Ohlin. "But the prevailing attitude of 'I'm not sick, why do I need a PHR?' is going to disappear over the next five years as consumers take on increasing personal and financial responsibilities for managing their own healthcare."  Thus, as the U.S. health system undergoes significant structural and payment reform, "the public sentiment is shifting away from the traditional passive approach towards recognition of the need to be more proactive about future care and more engaged at the actual point of care."

While Ohlin writes that the current PHR market is "wrought with stubborn and seemingly intractable problems including a perpetually disinterested mass of mainstream customers, persistent concerns around privacy and security, and a disproportionate amount of resources being thrown at unproven products and unsustainable technologies," she does believe that, ultimately, PHRs will be "inevitable tools in the future of healthcare delivery." Ohlin sees a network effect at play in driving the adoption of PHRs. "With greater certainty in the market and some high profile winners, increased investment will lead to new PHR innovations that may ultimately feed new business opportunities," said Ohlin.

Frost & Sullivan believes that, despite the historically low level of interest in maintaining a PHR, consumers will be increasingly drawn to PHRs and related tools as a natural progression of the widespread use of IT, especially mobile Internet devices; structural changes in healthcare including new collaborative care models; the growing adoption of EHRs among providers; and advancements in technology that will enable data to be automatically gathered, consolidated, and fed into PHR platforms enabling greater efficiency and ease of use.

The U.S Personal Health Records Market: Understanding Technical and Strategic Imperatives Around Consumer-Focused Health ITis part of the Healthcare & Life Sciences IT Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: hospital and ambulatory electronic records, acute care information systems, telehealth and health informatics, cloud computing, social media use among health providers, health information exchange, and health data analytics. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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U.S. Personal Health Records Market (2010 to 2015): Understanding
Technical and Strategic Imperatives around Consumer-Focused Health IT

Britni Myers
Corporate Communications – North America
P: 210.477.8481
F: 210.348.1003
E: [email protected]

SOURCE Frost & Sullivan