EHRs can build patient loyalty

A recent study points to a new benefit of electronic health records: managing patients in your practice. Predicted patient retention. Get the details here.

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.

Researchers affiliated with 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 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.

“In an era of expanding investment in EHRs, it is noteworthy that use of an integrated PHR is…positively associated with patient loyalty and health plan choice,” the authors write. “Our project suggests that, for patients, access to an integrated PHR may constitute highly meaningful use.”

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

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