Patients who use an interactive personal health record (IPHR) are almost twice as likely to be up to date with clinical preventive services as those who do not, according to a new study led by Alex Krist, M.D., M.P.H., research member of the Cancer Prevention and Control program at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.
Published today in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, the randomized controlled trial involved eight primary care practices and 4,500 patients. The patients were divided into a control group and an intervention group. The intervention group was mailed invitations to use an IPHR, and the researchers used surveys mailed at 4- and 16-month intervals to compare outcomes between the intervention group and the control group, as well among patients who did and did not use the IPHR.
At 16 months, 25.1 percent of those who used the IPHR were up to date with all recommended preventive services, nearly double the rate of non-users. At 4 months, delivery of colorectal, breast and cervical cancer screening increased by 19 percent, 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively, among IPHR users.
"Interactive personal health records allow patients to make informed decisions about their health care, and could have important public health benefits," says Krist, also associate professor of family medicine at the VCU School of Medicine. "Many of the preventive services that exhibited the largest increases were those identified by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities as saving the most quality-adjusted life years."