An American study published recently in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, has shown that patients who use an interactive personal health record (IPHR) are almost twice as likely to be up to date with clinical preventive services as those who do not. This study involved eight primary care practices and 4,500 patients. The patients were divided into a control group and an intervention group. The intervention group was mailed invitations to use an IPHR, and the researchers used surveys mailed at 4- and 16-month intervals to compare outcomes between the intervention group and the control group, as well among patients who did and did not use the IPHR.
At 16 months, 25.1 percent of those who used the IPHR were up to date with all recommended preventive services, nearly double the rate of non-users. At 4 months, delivery of colorectal, breast and cervical cancer screening increased by 19 percent, 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively, among IPHR users.
"Interactive personal health records allow patients to make informed decisions about their health care, and could have important public health benefits," says Alex H Krist MD, also associate professor of family medicine at the Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine. "Many of the preventive services that exhibited the largest increases were those identified by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities as saving the most quality-adjusted life years."
The IPHR used in the study addressed 18 services recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force, such as weight and blood pressure checks, cancer screenings and immunisations. The IPHR generated personalised prevention recommendations based on 167 clinical data points in the patients' EHRs and on an initial health risk assessment that included questions about race and ethnicity, family history, health behaviours and past test results not contained in the EHR. The IPHR generated detailed personal messages that explained the prevention service and its importance, and referenced relevant details in the patient's history. After a patient used the IPHR, the system automatically forwarded a summary to the EHR in-box of the patient's clinician.
This IPHR is more advanced than the patient-controlled electronic health record being introduced in Australia however in the future these types of interactive personal health records are likely to be used in Australia as well, particularly if they are shown to be beneficial to patient care.
Annals of Family Medicine: http://www.annfammed.org/content/10/4/312.full
Information on the IPHR used in the study: www.mypreventivecare.org
Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120710120333.htm