Purpose: Americans receive only one-half of recommended preventive services. Information technologies have been advocated to engage patients. We tested the effectiveness of an interactive preventive health record (IPHR) that links patients to their clinician's record, explains information in lay language, displays tailored recommendations and educational resources, and generates reminders.
Methods: This randomized controlled trial involved 8 primary care practices. Four thousand five hundred patients were randomly selected to receive a mailed invitation to use the IPHR or usual care. Outcomes were measured using patient surveys and electronic medical record data and included IPHR use and service delivery. Comparisons were made between invited and usual-care patients and between users and nonusers among those invited to use the IPHR.
Results: At 4 and 16 months, 229 (10.2%) and 378 (16.8%) of invited patients used the IPHR. The proportion of patients up-to-date with all services increased between baseline and 16 months by 3.8% among intervention patients (from 11.4% to 15.2%, P <.001) and by 1.5% among control patients (from 11.1% to 12.6%, P = .07), a difference of 2.3% (P = .05). Greater increases were observed among patients who used the IPHR. At 16 months, 25.1% of users were up-to-date with all services, double the rate among nonusers. At 4 months, delivery of colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer screening increased by 19%, 15%, and 13%, respectively, among users.
Conclusions: Information systems that feature patient-centered functionality, such as the IPHR, have potential to increase preventive service delivery. Engaging more patients to use systems could have important public health benefits.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00589173.