BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
Electronic personal health records (PHRs) allow patients access to their medical records, self-management tools, and new avenues of communication with their health care providers. They will likely become a valuable component of the primary care Patient-centered Medical Home model. Primary care physicians, who manage the majority of chronic disease, will use PHRs to help patients manage their diabetes and other chronic diseases requiring continuity of care and enhanced information flow between patient and physician. In this brief report, we explore the evidence for the value of PHRs in chronic disease management.
We used a comprehensive review of MEDLINE articles published in English between January 2000 and September 2010 on personal health records and related search terms.
Few published articles have described PHR programs designed for use in chronic disease management or PHR adoption and attitudes in the context of chronic disease management. Only three prospective randomized trials have evaluated the benefit of PHR use in chronic disease management, all in diabetes care. These trials showed small improvements in some but not all diabetes care measures. All three trials involved additional interventions, making it difficult to determine the influence of patient PHR use in improved outcomes.
The evidence remains sparse to support the value of PHR use for chronic disease management. With the current policy focus on meaningful use of electronic and personal health records, it is crucial to investigate and learn from new PHR products so as to maximize the clinical value of this tool.
Tenforde, Mark; Jain, Anil; Hickner, John, Family Medicine, 43(5), 351-354