EHRs can be a useful tool for building patient loyalty

September 10, 2012

Using an electronic health record (EHR) system can help keep your patients loyal to your practice, especially if the EHR lets patients access their personal health information online, according to a new study.

Using an electronic health record (EHR) system can help keep your patients loyal to your practice, especially if the EHR lets patients access their personal health information online, according to a new study.

Researchers affiliated with the healthcare plan Kaiser Permanente examined the association between use of Kaiser's integrated personal health record (PHR), known as My Health Manager (MHM), and remaining in a Kaiser health plan. Registered users of the PHR can see portions of their medical record, such as immunization histories and clinical laboratory results, make or change appointments, and securely email their doctor or another health provider, among other services.

The researchers studied more than 160,000 Kaiser Permanente Northwest members enrolled in a Kaiser health maintenance organization or point-of-service plan between 2005 and 2008 and compared the retention rates of MHM users and nonusers. They found that members who used the PHR were more than twice as likely as the nonusers to stay with the health plan during the period studied. The only greater predictors of retention likelihood were more than 10 years of membership and a high illness burden.

The study, "Association between personal health record enrollment and patient loyalty," was published online in the American Journal of Managed Care.