A new national survey conducted by Lake Research Partners for the California HealthCare Foundation looks at who is using personal health records (PHR) and other health information technologies. Although the numbers may still be small the benefits are there especially for those with chronic conditions.
- About 7 percent of those surveyed say they have used a PHR — more than double the proportion identified two years earlier in separate research
- As a result of their PHR, users cite taking steps to improve their own health, knowing more about their health care, and asking their doctors questions they would not otherwise have asked.
- Although higher-income individuals are the most likely to have used a PHR, lower-income adults, those with chronic conditions, and those without a college degree are more likely to experience positive effects of having their information accessible online.
- Two-thirds of the public remain concerned about the privacy and security of their health information, but the majority of those who are using a PHR are not very worried about the privacy of the information contained in their PHR.
- Most PHR users and non-users say we should not let privacy concerns stop us from learning how health IT can improve health care.
- More than half of adults are interested in using online applications to track health-related factors, and almost half are interested in medical devices that can be connected to the Internet. Of those who do not have a PHR, 40 percent express interest in using one.