Will patients use electronic personal health records? Responses from a real-life experience

J Healthc Inf Manag. 2001 Fall;15(3):251-9.


The Department of Health and Human Services identifies the electronic personal health record (EPHR) as a fundamental "dimension" of a future national health information infrastructure. Currently thirty-some EPHRs are available on the market. Though the potential advantages for clinical care, patient education, and administrative streamlining are highly touted, they remain speculative, and the core question remains: Will consumers actually use EPHRs? Upon retirement in July 1999, the author provided 330 patients a commercial EPHR containing clinical office records from the practice's EMR. One year later, he conducted a mail-in survey that posed a series of relevant yes-and-no questions regarding usage and invited narrative comment and anonymous responses. This article tabulates the results and synopsizes patients' opinions. It provides considerable enlightenment regarding patients, who, among other responses, intended to begin or continue keeping records, used the EPHR on medical visits, would rather not store health information on the Internet, wished to use e-mail with the doctor's office, believed doctors do not keep full records, and strongly believed individuals should keep their own records.

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Alabama
  • Attitude to Health
  • Computer Security
  • Confidentiality
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires