Many Primary Care Patients Will Use Personal Health Records

Clinician characteristics and work flow innovations affect usage

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MONDAY, Sept. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A substantial proportion of primary care patients will use online personal health records that interact with the electronic health record, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Alex H. Krist, M.D., M.P.H., from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues performed a mixed methods assessment of a proactive implementation strategy for a patient portal offered by eight primary care practices. The researchers performed prospective assessments of practice implementation strategies, portal use, and factors influencing use.

They found that 25.6 percent of patients used the interactive preventive health record (IPHR), with the rate increasing 1 percent per month over 31 months. Nearly one-quarter of users (23.5 percent) signed up within one day of their office visit. IPHR use was more likely among older patients and patients with comorbidities but less likely among blacks and Hispanics. After adjustment for comorbidities, older age diminished as a predictive factor. There were significant differences in implementation by practice (from 22.1 percent to 27.9 percent). Clinician characteristics and work flow innovations adopted by practices to enhance uptake affected implementation.

"By directly engaging patients to use a portal and supporting practices to integrate use into care, primary care practices can match or potentially surpass the usage rates achieved by large health systems," conclude the authors.

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