Online PHR helps parents stay on schedule with well-baby visits

Parents who logged onto their child's integrated personal health record at least once were more likely to adhere to the recommended schedule for six well-baby visits by 15 months of age, according to a Kaiser Permanente study.  

The research, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, involved a review of data for 7,000 children under 2 who were enrolled in Kaiser Permanente health plans in the Hawaii and Northwest. In the Northwest, parents who used the online tool at least once were 2.5 times more likely to keep the six appointments; in Hawaii, they were twice as likely.

In the Northwest, children whose parents used the PHR were 1.2 percent more likely to receive all the recommended vaccination; the results were statistically insignificant in Hawaii.

The six visits were performance measures listed in the 2010 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set.  

"For busy parents, it may be difficult to prioritize or remember when to bring their young children in for well-child care visits or immunizations, particularly when they are healthy," Jeffrey Tom, MD, study lead author and assistant investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Hawaii, said in an announcement. "Our study found that in two demographically and geographically distinct regions in the United States, PHRs appear to be a viable tool to help ensure children adhere to recommended preventive care."

More than 4.3 million members are registered to use Kaiser Permanente's personal health record, My Health Manager, which is directly connected to Kaiser's EHR system, enabling members to directly view their electronic medical records.

A separate Kaiser study reported earlier this month found that patients like being able to view their lab results online.

A study published last year in Perspectives in Health Information Management found that age, education level and income were not good indicators of patients' willingness to adopt PHRs. Other previous studies have shown that people are willing to manage their own health records, but are complacent when it comes time to actually doing so.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement

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