This is a good survey, but it’s like stating you would like to have a hot fudge sundae, you have to get up and make on or get in the car and drive somewhere to buy one.  So how do you get access – get a personal health record so you have a method and a place to store the information.

A few years back a company called AOL used to have CDs all over the retail stores on how to get online and it did well and many people discovered the internet this way.  When I go into a doctor’s office, I see all kinds of brochures, medical information posters on the walls, and even a televisionimage that entertain and education you while you wait.

Why don’t we see some CDs for starting a Personal Health Record in physician lobbies?  That could be a very good way to offer information and help get patients educated and started with a personal health record.  This is just my own brainstorm here, and I know there are folks from Microsoft who read this blog and perhaps there’s some from Google Health, so if you happen to run across this posting, any thoughts on the idea? 

Perhaps even the doctors might get curious enough themselves and take one home and give it try.  It’s great to see the results from the survey, but education is the next process that needs to take place.  BD

A qualitative study led by a research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) helps answer that question. Reported in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM), the findings provide key insights into consumer preferences, suggesting that patients want full access to all of their medical records, are willing to make some privacy concessions in the interest of making their medical records completely transparent, and that, going forward, fully expect that computers will play a major role in their medical care, even substituting for face-to-face doctor visits.

"We set out to study patient attitudes toward electronic personal health records and other emerging and future electronic health information technologies," explains the study's lead author Jan Walker, RN, MBA, Instructor in Medicine in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School. "And we learned that, for the most part, patients are very comfortable with the idea of computers playing a central role in their care." In fact, she adds, patients said they not only want computers to bring them customized medical information, they fully expect that in the future they will be able to rely on electronic technology for many routine medical issues.

"Patients know how busy their doctors are and they want to reserve us for what they really need us for - treating serious illness and conditions," adds senior author Tom Delbanco, MD, the Richard and Florence Koplow-James Tullis Professor of General Medicine and Primary Care at Harvard Medical School and BIDMC. "They may be more than happy to rely on computer protocols and 'faceless doctors' to help them manage garden-variety medical problems."

"The patient's view is critical," adds Delbanco. "We health care professionals think we know what it is, but we're often too arrogant to ask. We want our healthcare system to be as patient-centered as possible, and patients have broad and deep experience with technology in other sectors of their lives."

Patients reveal willingness to trade hands-on medical care for computer consultations

Related Reading:

Microsoft and Google Driving for the Same Outcome with Personal Health Records – Could DPHRs Be in the Picture

The Smart Inhaler with Blue Tooth and Wireless Capabilities


  1. personal health record or PHR is typically a health record that is initiated and maintained by an individual. An ideal PHR would provide a complete and accurate summary of the health and medical history of an individual by gathering data from many sources and making this information accessible online to everyone

  2. What a brilliant idea! We certainly need more doctors who are open to PHRs, but it seems that a generational shift is happening, and it might just need a little push like this.


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