The Department of Health and Human Services this fall will conduct a user satisfaction survey of 500 Medicare beneficiaries who are using personal health records software under pilot programs in Arizona and Utah.

"We know very little about why consumers, and specifically Medicare beneficiaries, elect to use PHRs and what functionality they want from a PHR," the department notes in a notice published May 14 in the Federal Register. "Understanding these needs will be critical if HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are to pursue PHRs as a tool to empower consumers to manage their health and have the capability to link to their provider's EHR."

Under the pilots launched in January 2009, participants can select a PHR from four vendors: Google Health, HealthTrio, NoMoreClipboard and PassportMD.

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation has contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, N.J., to conduct the paper-and-pencil survey during a 12-week period. More information is available at

--Joseph Goedert


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