The association between personal health record use and diabetes quality measures

J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Apr;27(4):420-4. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1889-0. Epub 2011 Oct 18.


Background: Electronic personal health records (PHRs) have the potential to empower patients in self-management of chronic diseases, which should lead to improved outcomes.

Objective: To measure the association between use of an advanced electronic medical record-linked PHR and diabetes quality measures in adults with diabetes mellitus (DM).

Design: Retrospective audit of PHR use and multivariable regression analyses.

Patients: 10,746 adults 18-75-years of age with DM seen at least twice at the office of their primary care physician at the Cleveland Clinic from July 2008 through June 2009.

Main measures: PHR use was measured as number of use days. Diabetes quality measures were: hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), HbA1c testing, ACEi/ARB use and/or microalbumin testing, pneumococcal vaccination, foot and dilated eye examination, and smoking status.

Key results: Compared to non-users, PHR users were younger, had higher incomes and educational attainment, were more likely to identify as Caucasian, and had better unadjusted and adjusted diabetes quality measure profiles. Adjusted odds ratio of HbA1c testing was 2.06 (p < 0.01) and most recent HbA1c was 0.29% lower (p < 0.01). Among PHR users, increasing number of login days was generally not associated with more favorable diabetes quality measure profiles.

Conclusions: PHR use, but not intensity of use, was associated with improved diabetes quality measure profiles. It is likely that better diabetes profiles among PHR users is due to higher level of engagement with their health among those registered for the PHR rather than PHR use itself. PHR use was infrequent. To maximize value, next-generation PHRs must be designed to engage patients in everyday diabetes self-management.

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Power, Psychological
  • Primary Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • United States
  • Young Adult