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Barriers to adoption of electronic personal health records outlined
Date:3/9/2009

Interest in personal health records as an electronic tool to manage health information is increasing dramatically. A group led by a UCSF researcher has identified cost, privacy concerns, design shortcomings and difficulties sharing information across different organizations as critical barriers hindering broad implementation of electronic personal health records.

The barriers are discussed in a paper appearing in the March-April 2009 issue of the journal "Health Affairs."

"It is imperative that these barriers hampering adoption of personal health records be addressed. We do not have the 'best of breed' yet, but I do believe that if we encourage nimble innovative solutions, we can achieve the ideal personal health record," said James S. Kahn, MD, professor of clinical medicine at UCSF's Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital.

The paper notes that costs may be offset by improvement in health activities and reduced administrative costs. The difficulty of making personal health record data portable for patients as they change health organizations is a key factor limiting wider and more rapid adoption.

"Personal health records controlled by patients that are interoperable with other systems so that they can take their records with them are also essential for empowering patients and ensuring their control over their own health care. Exploring other technologies such as mobile phones as an easier entry point for consumers to access their records could play an important role as well," said Kahn.

The authors posit a dynamic relationship as patients' behavior influences personal health record acceptance and personal health record adoption influences consumers' behavior.

"For instance, a personal health record could interact with patients through automated mechanisms such as alerts or reminders and improve medication adherence. Consumer-to-consumer interactions through social networking sit
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Contact: Jeff Sheehy
jsheehy@ari.ucsf.edu
415-597-8165
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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