By Katie Wike, contributing writer
According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, patient desires for personal health records are a "tremendous opportunity" to grow patient engagement.
Personal health records may be the connection providers need to encourage patients to engage in their health. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the National Cancer Institute, and Ohio State University, PHRs are a “tremendous opportunity” to increase patient engagement and meet Meaningful Use requirements.
Their study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, predicted adoption of patient health records could reach 75 percent by 2020. Some experts, including Chilmark Research analyst Brian Eastwood, find that number overly-optimistic. “Some of the figures that we’ve seen point to about 25 percent adoption now, which I think makes 75 percent adoption four years from now fairly unrealistic,” said Eastwood, according to Healthcare Dive.
According to Fierce EMR, the number of consumers using PHR technology has increased from eight million Americans in 2008 to more than 31 million by 2013. These users reported using two basic functionalities of PHRs, storing data on the Internet and communicating electronically with their clinical provider.
“Understanding the trajectory of PHR uptake by consumers is important for policy makers, providers and technology vendors,” the researchers of the JMIR study stated. “For policy makers, setting PHR usage targets based on quantified estimates rather than normative goals will ensure that targets are set at optimal levels to accelerate uptake, but not be unachievable. The provider community has been resistant to health information sharing. Having evidence that consumers are not only willing, but also able, to effectively use such tools may lower this resistance.”