Last year, Google Health, a cloud-based Personal Health Record (PHR) was shut down, and Microsoft’s own PHR, Health Vault, has morphed from a consumer offering to a service offered to providers. And, in spite of the next phases of Meaningful Use requiring patient portals integrated into EHRs to increase engagement and improve outcomes (reference Sept. 24 Hello Health blog post), there has been a chorus of critics proclaiming the PHR dead in the water. Patients will never adopt it, no one will pay that close attention to their health, they say. They point to the limited adoption of all sorts of consumer-directed health tools, from fitness monitors to PHRs as evidence.
Yet, in August this year, Kaiser Permanente announced that almost two thirds of the 3 million members who had access to its PHR, My Health Manager, had not only signed on but were also using it, to the online tune of 1 million secure e-mails and 2.5 million lab test results per month. Sounds like successful adoption to me.