Not Much Happening on PHR Front

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A survey of about 1,200 consumers in February 2011 found that 7 percent have used a personal health record, with 51 percent saying they have not been exposed to the idea of using PHRs. Those numbers are almost identical to a survey conducted in 2006 by the same research firm, IDC Health Insights.

A new report from the Framingham, Mass.-based firm includes survey results and analysis of the progress that three PHR initiatives with differing strategies--Dossia, Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault--have made in recent years.

Dossia focuses on promoting PHRs to employers to offer to employees and HealthVault primarily partners with delivery systems, while Google Health almost exclusively markets straight to consumers, according to the report. But four barriers continue to impede consumer acceptance: lack of pre-populated data from existing sources, privacy concerns with Internet-based sites, lack of physicians recommending use of PHRs, and concerns about PHR portability if switching providers, employers or health insurers.

With half of consumers still unaware of the concept of PHRs, adoption rates will continue to be modest during the next one to three years, according to IDC. "Patient-centered medical home and accountable care models, with their focus on improved care coordination and chronic condition management, should encourage clinicians to recommend PHRs to their patients to better manage their health and wellness," the report states. "But PHRs will need to continue to evolve from repositories of static health information to a tool that provides actionable information at the point of consumer healthcare decision making to be considered useful by consumers."

The IDC report, "Vendor Assessment: When Will PHR Platforms Gain Consumer Acceptance," is available here. The cost is $4,500 for non-clients.

--Joseph Goedert


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