Interactive PHRs Help with Preventative Care

A study published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine concluded that patients who use interactive online personal health records (PHRs) are more likely to stay up to date with their preventative medical tests. This new class of PHR, adds functionality to provide pointers and reminders to suggest screenings and other preventive care. From InformationWeek:

  • At 4 months, Interactive PHR users were 15.3% more likely to stay up to date on colorectal screening
  • For breast cancer tests, 12.3% higher
  • 11.3% higher for cervical cancer screening

The same authors as the study have published a 28-page guide with the AHRQ on PHR use in prevention.

Although PHRs are already in use through some providers including Kaiser Permanente, the VA and others, they usually don’t go beyond providing raw lab numbers to patients who log in to view them. But communicating lab results in this more interactive fashion can inspire patients to act, argues a recent HealthPopuli blog.

I agree there’s plenty of room to improve the ePatient experience through better presentations of data and user interfaces. Most conventional, patient-facing tools fail miserably at making information easy to understand and actionable for consumers. Even basic information like lab results are hard to work with and understand what to do about them. The i-PHR creates the opportunity to guide patients to take the small but important steps toward better self-care and management.

This is an area that Wellbe.me is working very hard to deliver improvements in the ePatient Experience. We give patients new and better ways to understand their health conditions as they journey through their treatment plans. Get a demo to see how.

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