Here are five ways to engage patients in their personal health records:
1. Address privacy concerns. About 75% of the people currently not using a PHR who responded to the CHCF survey call it "a significant barrier" to participation. Providers should stress that electronic data is more secure than paper charts, which might be lying out on a desk where anyone can see them instead of behind a firewall in a password-protected computer.
2. Use patient-centered design principles. To engage patients in online health records, make access and navigation as easy as possible. Arrange data in ways that make sense to a layperson—organizing content by condition, for example, rather than by date of service.
3. Offer familiar services. Patients who do any kind of online business—from banking to shopping (and, really, who doesn't?) will feel comfortable with healthcare services such as online appointment scheduling, appointment reminders, and medication refill requests.
4. Reach out to digital natives. Interactive and relevant content is important to tech-savvy consumers, so build communities and create intelligent tools and searches for them. "Engagement matters," DuLong says.