[Personal health records on the Internet. A narrative review of attitudes, expectations, utilization and effects on health outcomes]

Z Evid Fortbild Qual Gesundhwes. 2017 May:122:9-21. doi: 10.1016/j.zefq.2017.04.006. Epub 2017 May 10.
[Article in German]


Background: The integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) is increasingly considered in the development of healthcare structures. This fact is also recognised in the e-Health Act. In this context, personal health records (PHR) have a specific meaning. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview on utilization, barriers and possible effects on the implementation of PHR.

Methods: This analysis is based on a literature search in Web of Science (Core Collection) (01/2000 to 12/2014) using the following terms: "personal health record", "personal medical record", "personal electronic health record", "interpersonal health record", "personally controlled health record".

Results: In general, patients have positive attitudes towards the electronic exchange of personal health information (PHI) on a PHR. Even the sharing of PHI with physicians, health professionals, family and friends appears to be an option for many patients. Physicians also see the potential of a PHR on the internet, but they are more critical than patients. Barriers exist towards the use of complex and non-intuitive PHR concepts along with technical faults and the lack of functionality. From the physicians' perspective, prejudices concerning the use of PHR have not been confirmed and, other than previously expected, the workload has not increased so much. However, clinical outcomes have so far been rather moderate. Stronger effects may be achieved by embedding the PHR in a broader healthcare concept.

Conclusion: In the context of chronic disease, a connected PHR (patient-controlled, cross-sectoral, and interoperable) can be a valuable tool for organizing healthcare for patients. To take full effect, the development of such systems should focus on patients and their families as well as on physicians and other healthcare professionals. Whether the e-Health Act is a step in the right direction will have to be established by future analysis.

Keywords: E-Health Gesetz; Empowerment; Partizipation; Patientenakte; e-Health Act; empowerment; participation; patient-controlled; patientenkontrolliert; personal health record.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Germany
  • Health Records, Personal*
  • Humans
  • Internet*