Introduction: An exploratory study was conducted to understand patient propensity to use a Personal Health Record (PHR) linked to their primary care clinicians' Electronic Health Record (EHR). Individuals with long-term conditions rely on information exchange for effective self-care. PHRs could be helpful. The research questions were: How do we know if certain people will use PHRs for self-care?
Methods: Semi-structured interviews and observation were conducted with ten patients regarding their use of a PHR available to them.
Findings: Reasons for using PHR functions fell into two patterns: interaction and review. Patients used their PHR if they could interact with their GP, e.g. order a repeat prescription, and if they could review information, e.g. laboratory results, medicines list. Perceived usefulness (PU) of the PHR was strong, especially if linked to a self-care action. Interestingly, behavioural intent to use was not adversely affected by difficulties in using some aspects of the tool, if the PU of a function was strong.
Conclusion: Patient experience with a PHR linked to their EHR kept by their GP shows positive perceptions regarding the PHR usefulness. Future research could develop guidelines for clinicians to help select patients for PHR use in self-care.