Americans Overwhelmingly Believe Electronic Personal Health Records Could Improve Their Health


The Markle Foundation has published a research brief based on a survey conducted among 1,580 American adults (18+) nationwide during the period of May 13-22, 2008. Among the findings:

  1. High perception of value: Regardless of their interest in using an online PHR service, 79 percent or more of the public believe using an online PHR would provide major benefits to individuals in managing their health and health care services.
  2. High interest: Almost half of the public — 46.5 percent — say they would be interested in using an online PHR service. This represents about 106 million adults.
  3. Privacy concerns: Among those saying they are not interested, 56.8 percent cited worries about privacy and confidentiality as a reason for their reluctance.
  4. Practices matter: By majorities ranging from 87 percent to 92 percent, the public feels that provision of six privacy, record-access, and user remedies would be either “essential” or a significant factor in their decisions whether to join an online PHR service. More than 90 percent said their express agreement should be required for each use of their information.
  5. Utilization of electronic PHRs remains low: Only 2.7 percent of adults have an electronic PHR today (representing about 6.1 million persons). Most (57.3 percent) do not keep any form of personal health records, and 40 percent keep some paper health records.
  6. Variations by sponsor: Interest in using a PHR online service varies according to the PHR service’s sponsoring organization, with the health care services individuals now use or have available locally rating most highly.
  7. Variety of enforcement: When asked about enforcement of privacy policies, more than 75 percent of the respondents considered each of the following to be useful: market forces, new federal health privacy law, action by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, and independent organizational-compliance audits.

Additional details can be found on their research brief [pdf].

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