Empowering Patients through Personal Health Records: A Survey of Existing Third-Party Web-Based PHR Products

Axel Helmer, Myriam Lipprandt, Thomas Frenken, Marco Eichelberg, Andreas Hein

Abstract


Empowering people to play an active role in their own healthcare influences their health state positively. PHRs‘ features and functions are key factors for the empowerment of patients, but only little research has been done to date.

This survey identifies PHR functions and properties that are relevant for patient empowerment and compiles a list of PHR products that are currently available on the market.

Based on a literature review and former research work, a function taxonomy checklist including 6 domains and 58 subgroups of features was created. A list of products was compiled from two public directories that list PHRs and from the result of an explorative search that was performed utilizing various search engines. Together with the PHRs found during the scientific literature review this lead to an adjusted list of 48 products. Every product was analyzed by the usage of a questionnaire, that was sent to the product vendor, the public available information about the product, and whenever possible by the exploratory use of provided test accounts.

There has been good support for most of the common features in the structured data, services, security and interface domain, whereas almost none of the PHRs use existing medical standards for the storage and communication of their data.

At the present time, PHRs have implemented only basic features allowing only basic patient empowerment. The breakthrough for empowerment will require cost intensive implementations of medical standards to provide interoperability and health services which let the users make a choice for the usage of a PHR.


Keywords


Personal Health Records; Electronic Health Record; Empowerment; Standards; Medical information systems; Medical Computer-Assisted Decision Making; Patient Empowerment

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