Survey on PHRs: Interesting Data, Wrong Emphasis

There’s a new study on PHR use out today (although it looks like Brian Ahier ignored the embargo in his good summary! Update–he didn’t, he just posted late PST so it looked like he did. Sorry Brian!) funded by CHCF and done by the (unknown to me) Lake Research Partners. You can follow the Twitter hashtag #phrpoll to see what Jane Sarasohn Kahn and various others think from the live press conference in DC. But I’ve read the data sheet which has the full poll responses, and here are my (admittedly very quick) take.

1) PHR use is apparently at 7% about double from the last time some one asked (Markle, a few years back). It’s still low and it’s an irrelevant number, instead what’s more interesting is where people say they get and they want to get their PHRs from, which leads to…

2) People say they want to get their PHRs predominantly from their doctors and hospitals. Next requested is their insurers. Independent companies (Google & Microsoft were stated in the questions) are only wanted by about 25%, same as employers (q23). Most who have PHRs which deliver data to them now get them from their insurer, although I suspect Kaiser is viewed as an insurer by many people which probably skews that answer.

3) Most people want online services. Roughly two-thirds of people want better online services from the health care system. Big majorities think getting their health information online at the doctor’s office (i.e. having their doctor use an EMR) is a good thing and most want that information shared with them. BUT it’s not the data they want, it’s services that are enabled by that data—lab results, appointment scheduling, reminders, information from the doctor about care regimens. All requested by more than 60% of those who don’t have a PHR now (q21). Which leads me to increasingly confirm my belief that PHRs don’t exist. Instead there’s data (coming from the emerging data utility layer) and applications that provide services,

I’d recommend digging into the survey answers yourselves rather than listening to the synopsis which is barking somewhat up the wrong tree. There’s lots of good data in it for people who care about online consumer use of IT. Full toplines are here. Let’s see if we can get the full data file from CHCF too.

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