Use of personal health records improves prevention, study says

August 25, 2012

Use of personal health records improves prevention, study says.

Use of personal health records actually boosts the delivery of preventive services, according to a new study from the Annals of Family Medicine.

The study, titled "Interactive preventive health record to enhance delivery of recommended care: A randomized trial" and by Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH, et al., concludes that "information that features patient-centered functionality, such as the interactive preventive health record, have potential to increase preventive service delivery. Engaging more patients to use systems could have important public health benefits."

It is estimated that Americans receive only one-half of recommended preventive services, and one of the causes is poor access to reliable information. "They need reminders when services are due, guidance to deal with inconsistent recommendations, and access to decision aids for choices that require shared decision making," the paper states. The findings in this randomized trial show that when interactive preventive health records users were compared with nonusers, "the benefits appeared to be substantially greater." At 16 months, one in four users were up to date on all preventive services, a rate nearly double that of nonusers, the study says.

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