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Docs' Top 3 PHR Fears

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, December 6, 2011

Healthcare organizations are working to encourage patients to get engaged in their healthcare data, in part by making Personal Health Records more user-friendly. Part of the adoption problem isn't just a lack of consumer awareness, but the fact that many physicians are wary of records that are created and controlled by patients.

Among their concerns: time, accuracy, and control over data.

1.Time
Physicians who are reluctant to participate in the PHR system at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center most fear that having a direct connection between themselves and their patients  would take too much time, Daniel Martich, MD, chief medical information officer and vice president for physician services at UPMC, tells HealthLeaders Media.

UPMC uses a PHR system called HealthTrak, a Web-based portal that allows patients at its 20 hospitals and 400 outpatient sites to feed data into the electronic record. More than 70,000 patients currently use the system.

"They worried that the patient would write tomes, as opposed to a quick phone conversation. They thought it would be so onerous, looking at attachments of articles the patient clipped from Reader's Digest and they'd never get through their day," Martich says. "That, by and large, is myth. In fact, we're finding that patients are much more succinct if they have to type it in rather than talking to you on the phone."

You could tell docs that they're over-reacting. But it's better to offer them data.

Holly Miller, MD, chief medical officer with Fishkill, NY–based Med-Allies and a HIMSS director says she participated in a Cleveland Clinic study that showed physicians actually saved time by allowing lab results to be released to the PHR rather than calling the patient.

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