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Report: Providers Need to Promote PHRs to Patients with Chronic Conditions

November 7, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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Personal health record (PHR) applications are popular for patients but healthcare organizations that have utilized them are not doing a good job promoting them to those with chronic conditions, states a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.

The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit based in New York City, interviewed healthcare organizations in the U.S. that have implemented a patient portal to understand how they are being promoted. Of the 16 they interviewed, none had a strategy to promote PHRs to patients with chronic conditions or frequent users of the emergency department.

Commonwealth says that organizations will not see value from PHRs if they do not actively promote them to patients with chronic conditions. “Such patients have much to gain from being able to easily communicate with their clinicians and access information when they need it, and past surveys have found that PHR use has led patients to change behaviors or ask questions they otherwise would not have,” the authors of the report write.

The researchers said there were incentives from some organizations to get patients to use the PHR while others felt that wasn’t necessary. Most recognized that getting adoption of PHRs from patients was more than an IT project as it required an operational and cultural change. Those that were successful found that it was popular with patients and providers, who didn’t have to play telephone tag.

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