Reorienting personal health record research: focus to patient engagement?

April 25th, 2012

Dr. Tenforde et al[1] has proven the limitation of traditional personal health record (PHR) to improve the health quality of diabetes patients. Even though PHR users are having better quality profile, however it is assumed that such improvement was related more to their engagement with health not PHR use. Anyway, it is a positive evidence of PHR adoption, considering the difficulties of implementation and high risk of abandonment[2].

In the last five years, expanding growth of PHR publications appeared in Pubmed. Several factors have driven this trend. They include, but not limited to, increasing adoption of EMR by clinical providers, patients’ need to adopt and share health information, technological maturity of personal medical instrument and health data exchange, and the last but not least increasing mHealth applications and social media in health domain.

Unfortunately, while mobile technology is continuously penetrating our social and individual life, only less than half of existing PHR applications was available for use with mobile devices[3]. On the other hand, current mobile applications for diabetes self-management are far from the recommended features, especially to educate the patient and promote active health behavior[4]. It means that there are countless unexplored scopes for PHR research.

While above statements are more technological driven, all upcoming researchers on PHR should also consider many psychological theories[5] which then could be used to explain what types, in what level, how and why patient engagement on PHR could lead to better clinical improvement. Is it the right time to redefine and reorient research field of personal health record focusing on patient engagement?


  1. Tenforde M, Nowacki A, Jain A, Hickner J. The association between personal health record use and diabetes quality measures. J Gen Intern Med. Apr 2012;27(4):420-424.
  2. Greenhalgh T, Hinder S, Stramer K, Bratan T, Russell J. Adoption, non-adoption, and abandonment of a personal electronic health record: case study of HealthSpace. BMJ. 2010;341:c5814. (full text)
  3. Jones DA, Shipman JP, Plaut DA, Selden CR. Characteristics of personal health records: findings of the Medical Library Association/National Library of Medicine Joint Electronic Personal Health Record Task Force. J Med Libr Assoc. Jul 2010;98(3):243-249. (full text)
  4. Chomutare T, Fernandez-Luque L, Arsand E, Hartvigsen G. Features of mobile diabetes applications: review of the literature and analysis of current applications compared against evidence-based guidelines. J Med Internet Res. 2011;13(3):e65. (full text)
  5. Clough BA, Casey LM. Technological adjuncts to increase adherence to therapy: a review. Clin Psychol Rev. Jul 2011;31(5):697-710.

One Response to “Reorienting personal health record research: focus to patient engagement?”

  1. Cahya on May 6, 2012 4:53 am

    Kalau di Indonesia mungkin akan sulit ya diterapkan pada semua lapisan masyarakat pada generasi saat ini, karena memang tidak semua dapat mengakses teknologi untuk PHR pada perangkat bergerak.

    Biasanya ponsel menyediakan aplikasi kesehatan sederhana, seperti pola diet dan olahraga. Namun belum menjadi asisten untuk promosi dan pemberi informasi kesehatan yang mumpuni, kecuali dibuat demikian oleh pemiliknya (on-demand).

    Rasanya senang kalau melihat masyarakat memanfaatkan teknologi untuk membantu menjaga kesehatannya :).

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