Proven Research on the Benefits of Personal Health Records and My Health Journals

My Health Journals is not a substitute for Personal Health Records, but rather an additional communications tool to support Personal Health Records. My Health Journals can provide a brief overview of an individual's health and provide caretakers and doctors with a day-to-day overview of their physical and mental wellbeing and daily tracking. “A PHR (Personal Health Records) includes health information managed by the individual. PHR is a tool that can help maintain health and wellness as well as a tool to help with illness.” The following research is pulled from the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association combined with our response to Personal Health Records: Definitions, Benefits, and Strategies for Overcoming Barriers to Adoption by PAUL C. TANG, MD, MS, JOAN S. ASH, Ph.D., DAVID W. BATES, MD, J. MARC OVERHAGE, MD, Ph.D., DANIEL Z. SANDS, MD, MPH.

Benefits of Personal Health Records and My Health Journals

“While PHRs (Personal Health Records) has many potential benefits to patients, caregivers, and institutions, the supporting evidence of specific benefits and the business case for PHR adoption is limited. Furthermore, the technology supporting PHRs is still evolving. Widespread adoption and use of PHRs will not occur unless they provide perceptible value to users, are easy to learn and easy to use, and have associated costs (both financial and effort) that are easily justified related to the PHR’s perceived value.” Since the PHR technologies continue to evolve, My Health Journals can offer an interim substitute for individuals seeking ownership of their health. With its ease of use, pen to paper format, there is a limited security concern, little to no learning curve, and limited costs to the individual. Though again, My Health Journals is not a substitute for PHR, rather it can offer support and better communications between patients, caretakers, and doctors. 

“Benefits of Personal Health Records For consumers, PHRs have a wide variety of potential benefits. One of the most important PHR benefits is greater patient access to a wide array of credible health information, data, and knowledge.” My Health Journals does not offer direct credible health information, data, or knowledge, however, it provides the system for managing and tracking an individual's health. Also, My Health Journals offers a resource section, where it enables individuals to record their credible health resources. 

“Patients can leverage access to improve their health and manage their diseases. Such information can be highly customized to make PHRs more useful. Patients with chronic illnesses will be able to track their diseases in conjunction with their providers, promoting earlier interventions when they encounter a deviation or problem.” MHJ users can do just that: “track their diseases in conjunction with their providers promoting earlier interventions when they encounter a deviation or problem.”

“Collaborative disease tracking has the potential to lower communication barriers between patients and caregivers. Improved communication will make it easier for patients and caregivers to ask questions, to set up appointments, to request refills and referrals, and to report problems. For example, communication barriers are responsible for any adverse drug events in the outpatient setting.11 In addition, PHRs should make it easier for caregivers ( proxies for the patients) to care for patients, which is difficult today. A critical benefit of PHRs is that they provide an ongoing connection between patient and physician, which changes encounters from episodic to continuous, thus substantially shortening the time to address problems that may arise. To date, there is limited evidence supporting these hypothetical benefits; however, many consumers have high satisfaction levels with existing early versions of PHRs.3,7,12,13 In particular, consumers place value on easy access to test results and better communication with clinicians.”

“PHR's can benefit clinicians in many ways. First, patients entering data into their health records can elect to submit, including, Allergy data Patient, Home-monitored data (eg., BP, glucose, peak flow), Social history and lifestyle Patient, Immunizations Patient, immunization registries Medications Patient, EHR, Manual entry (e.g., blood pressure, weight), Home instrumentation N/A Automated interfaces (e.g., blood pressure from interfaced home blood pressure monitor). Having more data helps clinicians to make better decisions. The PHR may also become a conduit for improved sharing of medical records. Patients who are more engaged in their health are more active participants in the therapeutic alliance, for example, when patients with chronic conditions collaboratively manage their illnesses with clinicians to reduce pain, improve functional outcomes, and improve medication adherence. Potential benefits of PHRs to payers and purchasers of health care include lower chronic disease management costs, lower medication costs, and lower wellness program costs, although none of these has been well studied. The greatest area of benefit relates to chronic disease management, where costs are typically high.14” My Health Journals price is relatively low compared to various nursing management programs, wellness programs, etc. Also, the active membership of individuals using My Health Journals can increase their engagement with their health and become more active participants in the therapeutic alliance, as expressed in the research. 

In conclusion, PHR’s offer an array of benefits to the individual. However, in Canada, we still have limited access to PHR’s and Canadians still seek more insight into their health. My Health Journals can bridge this gap. MHJ is not a substitute for PHR, rather it can offer support and day-to-day health tracking and management. MHJ provides many benefits to the consumer including an increase of health and physical awareness, improvement of communication between patient and caregiver, active participation in health management, tools for health tracking, knowledge of the personal state of health and wellbeing, ability to catch illnesses and earlier illness interventions, an affordable means of a wellness program, limited security concern, etc. My Health Journals can also benefit clinicians by offering caregivers and doctors with detailed data to inform their decisions. We have attached a copy of Personal Health Records: Definitions, Benefits, and Strategies for Overcoming Barriers to Adoption by PAUL C. TANG, MD, MS, JOAN S. ASH, Ph.D., DAVID W. BATES, MD, J. MARC OVERHAGE, MD, Ph.D., DANIEL Z. SANDS, MD, MPH for your benefit.

Research Paper Link

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