The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has issued a free online guidance document to using personal health records to promote preventive care.

The agency funded development of the guide by the Department of Family Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and regional delivery systems and physician practices. The guide covers using PHRs to promote prevention, preparing a practice for the initiative, and implementing and sustaining use of the PHR. Steps in the guide also apply to using a PHR to promote chronic disease management, according to authors.The report focuses on a specific type of PHR, an “Interactive Preventive Health Record,” but its guidance also is intended for traditional PHRs.

“The recommendations in this guide are based on our experiences creating, implementing and evaluating an IPHR in three studies conducted between September 2007 and March 2012,” according to the report. “The studies involved 14 primary care practices with a wide variation in location, patient populations, Internet use, electronic health record experience, PHR experience, information technology infrastructure, organizational culture and practice ownership.”

For your consideration: AARP offers members a free PHR

The practices used EHRs from Allscripts and Epic, and by March 2012 more than 25,000 patients regularly used the IPHR, with up to 400 more signing up weekly, authors say.

The AHRQ guide is available here.

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