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Personal Health Record Associated with Improved Medication Adherence
Date:1/6/2014

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients with diabetes who used an online patient portal to refill medications increased their medication adherence and improved their cholesterol levels, according to a new study in the journal Medical Care.

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Online patient portals allow users to perform tasks such as scheduling appointments, accessing their health records, viewing their lab test results and emailing their care providers in addition to ordering prescription refills. 

The National Institutes of Health funded researchers from Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco Medical School to follow 17,760 patients with diabetes who received care from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California between January 2006 and December 2010.

Medication non-adherence and poorly controlled cholesterol declined by 6 percent among exclusive users of the online refill function, compared to occasional users or non-users.

In this large sample of diabetes patients, the average age was 62, and 40 percent were non-white minorities. The diabetes patients studied had an average of more than six chronically used medications and 11 outpatient visits per year.

"Medication adherence and other health behaviors are often the hardest things for health care providers to influence," said senior author Andrew J. Karter, PhD, research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. "Our study showed that when patients used online prescription refills, it can improve adherence and health outcomes. On top of those benefits, we know that online refill systems increase the efficiency of pharmacy operations and provide more convenience for patients."

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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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