Manhattan Research, a healthcare market research company, personal health records (PHR) are slowly becoming more popular in the U.S., but concerns about privacy and a lack of understanding, as well as doubts about the efficiency of PHRs are holding back widespread adoption. Only about 7 million adults in the U.S. actually use PHRs. Especially those without serious illnesses often don't see the need for using electronic health records.According to
Microsoft's HealthVault (our review), Google Health, and WebMD all offer interesting and consumer friendly services, but they have not been able to gain significant traction in the marketplace, even though there is compelling evidence that electronic records can reduce the chance of medical errors significantly.
What is Holding People Back?
According to Erika S. Fishman, Manhattan Research's Director of Research, besides privacy concerns, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome for the adoption of PHR is a lack of motivation among Americans to use these records unless faced with live threatening illnesses.
Meredith Abreu Ress, Manhattan Research's VP of Research, also doesn't expect to see PHRs to take off this year. As she points out, its hard to see what would motivate patients to curate their own health records when most doctors still have "your entire medical history in a coffee-stained manila folder."
Obama: Electronic Health Records for All Americans
As Greg Sterling pointed out over a year ago, the success of PHRs will be "tied in to the political outcome of universal healthcare initiatives." President-elect Obama has made electronic health records a cornerstone of his administration's proposed health policy, but some groups are already voicing concerns about the privacy implications of creating electronic medical records for all American.
According to CNN, in American, only about 8% of hospitals and 17% of physicians keep electronic records of the kind that Obama envisions and that President Bush also proposed in 2006. The administration hopes to make all medical records available in electronic form by 2014.
CC-licensed Image of 'health card' courtesy of Flickr user juhansonin.