Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fascinating Information on Adoption of PHRs in the US. The Usage Is Hardly Huge!

The following appeared a little while ago.

Google Health Dies, But PHR Market Still Growing

Personal health records will see a 33% gain in revenue through 2015 as doctors push patients to use health IT systems, finds Frost & Sullivan study.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

July 01, 2011


As the demise of Google Health brings into sharper focus the challenges of establishing an online personal health record (PHR) business model, a study by Frost & Sullivan reveals that the PHR market generated revenue of $312.2 million in 2010 and estimates that revenue will reach $414.8 million in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8%. Further, the report predicts that from 2010 to 2015 the PHR market will realize a 33% increase in revenue.

Released Wednesday, the report, The U.S. Personal Health Records Market: Understanding Technical and Strategic Imperatives around Consumer-Focused Health IT, also states that the use of PHRs among Americans was estimated to be around 7% of the population in 2010, but this number will rise due to increased use of electronic health records (EHRs) and other health IT by providers that will lead to greater awareness of their value.

"PHRs as a component of EHRs will drive the market," said Jessica Ryan Ohlin, Frost & Sullivan's analyst and the report's author. Ohlin explained that the growth of digitized medical records means health data can automatically be collected, consolidated, and fed into PHR platforms giving patients the opportunity to request from their medical providers or payers more of their medical records online.

Other trends in the market that will shift consumers toward further PHR use include structural changes in healthcare, including new collaborative care models; the increasing use of mobile health apps that help consumers overcome security fears as they become more comfortable with the idea of tracking and monitoring their personal health through technological means; and the growing number of older Americans and people with chronic diseases who, along with their caregivers, want to access, manipulate, and monitor their personal health information electronically.

"People will increasingly see the benefits of why they should be using a PHR. Just as moms are interested in having copies of their child's immunization records and caregivers want to have access to their parent's or loved one's information so that they can make decisions on behalf of and with their loved one, people will want all that data to reside in a Web-accessible online portal, which is going to be the way that this all goes," Ohlin said.

Link to full article is in text.

What I found interesting here is that total adoption is only 7% of the population even though Microsoft and Google have been in the market for a number of years - and that it will only rise 33% (or 2-3% overall) by 2015. Widespread adoption seems like it is a long way off!

It also seems clear from the report that it is content that is of use to the consumer, as well as functionality that makes obtaining and accessing services easier, are the drivers of adoption.

Another issue that is related to this aspect is the nature of just what will be made available and even more importantly just what they will be able to glean from that information.

I am told present plans are for the PCEHR to provide a Summary Clinical Record (the clinical basics) and information from Medicare. This is to include:

* immunization records

* organ donor records

* MBS claims including costs

* PBS claims including costs

Just what the ordinary punter will be able to make of a listing of MBS claim codes and costs I guess we will have to just wait and see on this - but I suspect won’t find the list riveting reading.

As additional clinical material is added it seems to me the risk of misunderstanding etc. of what is being presented will rise and so will the time spent by clinicians explaining what a or b actually means in this patient’s context. There is, of course, a risk that in some patients considerable anxiety and worry could be triggered unless explanations are easily available from a trusted source.

Frankly, just pushing information out the a PCEHR without some professional mediation seems like a pretty bad idea. People who want to know are more than entitled to know all, but discovery should be in a supported environment where the unexpected is able to be safely handled.


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