Personal health records: Consumer attitudes toward privacy and security of their personal health information

Health Informatics J. 2011 Mar;17(1):63-71. doi: 10.1177/1460458211399403.


Personal health record (PHR) systems are a subject of intense interest in the move to improve healthcare accessibility and quality. Although a number of vendors continue to put forward PHR systems, user-centered design research has lagged, and it has not been clear what features are important to prospective PHR users. Here, we report on a user-centered design study that combines qualitative and quantitative approaches to investigate several dimensions relevant to PHR design, and to look at the effect of health status on user needs. The results indicate that health status, especially disability and chronic illness, is relevant to PHR design. Further, the results provide empirical evidence about the role of privacy and security in users' attitudes toward PHR use. The exact nature of these attitudes differs from widely held perceptions about consumer values in healthcare information management.

Keywords: PHR; personal health records; privacy; security.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Computer Security / standards*
  • Health Records, Personal / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Privacy / psychology*