Access to Personal Health Records boosts patient loyalty

Patients who engage regularly with a personal health record are significantly more likely to remain members of a health plan, a three-year study of Kaiser Permanente patient retention suggests.

The study of 394,214 Kaiser Permanente Northwest members, published online in the July issue of the American Journal of Managed Care, found that members who used Kaiser's personal health record were 2.6 times more likely to stay with Kaiser. PHR use was the third strongest predictor of retention, following membership tenure and illness burden, and was especially noticeable among newer plan members.

Kaiser's PHR is linked to its electronic health record system, according to the article, "Association Between Personal Health Record Enrollment and Patient Loyalty." The authors say they believe their study is the first to document the association between patient loyalty, as measured by member retention, and access to an online integrated PHR.

Other recent research showed that patients who use PHRs are more likely to remain current on routine cancer screenings and other preventative tests.

A study by Virginia Commonwealth University found that patients using an interactive preventive health record, which the authors called a "higher-functioning" PHR, were twice as likely to be up to date with all preventive cancer screenings and other tests. The study, "Interactive Preventive Health Record to Enhance Delivery of Recommended Care: A Randomized Trial," was published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

The study subjects received personalized, PHR-generated automated reminders of recommended screenings during the 16-month study period.

To learn more:
read the Kaiser study
see the Virginia Commonwealth study



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